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Three communes call for permanent waterbus service

10:02 14/05/2024

The municipalities of Vilvoorde, Machelen and Brussels-City are asking the Flemish government to work on a waterbus service that would allow commuters to make commuter journeys to and from the capital all year round.

A waterbus already exists but only runs from May to October.

“We already live today in the most congestion-prone region in the country,” Vilvoorde mayor Hans Bonte (Vooruit) said.

“The economic and environmental damage this will cause is enormous, as is the problem of stealth traffic. Fast and smaller boats available in higher frequency all year round – that’s what we’re putting on the table for the upcoming Flemish government.”

At least 15 other partners, including the three municipalities’ city councils, have signed on to the request that the government “make every effort, together with the local authorities, to provide sustainable traffic options. A fast waterbus between the capital and the Rand [Brussels periphery] is one of them.”

The so-called Buda+ project aims to realise that goal as part of a broader plan to redevelop the Buda district, an industrial area north of Brussels.

Partners include the province of Flemish Brabant, POM Flemish Brabant, OVAM, Department of Environment, Perspective Brussels, CityDev, Port of Brussels, Brussels Port Community, De Vlaamse Waterweg, business association Voka, Chamber of Commerce Flemish Brabant and Beci.

They are looking primarily at the Vilvoorde-Brussels route for the waterbus: the distance from Vilvoorde to Yser metro station in Brussels is 11 kilometres. Stops in Neder-Over-Heembeek, Vilvoorde centre, Schaarbeek-Formation and Tour & Taxis could also be options.

The current shuttle service connects Brussels, Schaarbeek, Neder-Over-Heembeek and Vilvoorde and runs on weekdays from 1 May to 31 October and also on weekends from 1 July to 14 August.

The partners want the cost, operating conditions, frequency and speed of transport to be examined for year-round service.

Written by Helen Lyons