SNCB announces a substantial increase in its fares

Prices will more or less follow the evolution of the health index. New tariff formulas should also see the light of day.

SNCB train at Bruxelles-Midi, March 5, 2019 @BelgaImage

SNCB will adapt its prices on February 1, 2023, with an increase of 8.73% on average, it announced on Friday. This is “a difficult but necessary decision to make”, justifies the board of directors of the railway company. The carrier is also in the process of developing differentiated pricing according to the time at which the train runs and the profile of the traveler.

SNCB says it is “forced” to adjust its tariffs due to the impact of high inflation and energy prices. The average price adjustment for all products, excluding subscriptions, is 8.73%, in line with the evolution of the health index. The price of the Standard Ticket will notably be increased by 8.73%. The adaptation of the prices of tickets and multi-trip cards for young people and/or seniors will remain below the health index.

Read also: How can the train (finally) become attractive in Belgium? Price, punctuality, but not only

The prices of home-work subscriptions and school subscriptions, the evolution of which is partly based on the evolution of the health index, will be adjusted by 9.73%. This tariff adjustment must be set against, among other things, the sharp rise in energy prices, insists the SNCB, which, with 3,800 trains per day, is the country’s leading consumer of electricity. Just for next year, its electricity bill will increase by more than 200 million euros compared to 2022, she illustrates. Added to this is the indexation of wages which also represents a “big impact”.

New offers are coming

The tariff adjustment will only cover a limited part of the increase in operating costs, points out the railway company. However, SNCB intends to do everything to continue to bring its passengers back on the trains. Current attendance is 93% compared to the 2019 occupancy rate, she notes. The carrier also intends to attract new customers and will deploy, to this end, several initiatives to continue to make the train attractive.

The company is thus in the process of developing new tariff formulas, which will be adapted in particular according to the time of the journey, whether it takes place during peak hours or off-peak hours, and the profile of the traveler. The objective is also to develop specific offers with very attractive prices for target groups such as young people, seniors, customers who travel frequently by train, small groups and travelers benefiting from an increased allowance, concludes the SNCB.

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