Transport in Brussels
Transport in Brussels can be made by means of many private or public transportation means. Public transportation means include Brussels buses, trams, the Brussels metro (all three operated by the STIB as well as a set of railway lines (operated by Infrabel) and railway stations served by public trains (operated by the SNCB). Bicycle-sharing and car-sharing public systems are also available. Air transport is available via one of the two city's airports (the Brussels National Airport and the Brussels-South Charleroi Airport) or with the boat, via the Port of Brussels. The city is relatively car-dependent by northern European standards and is considered to be the most congested city in the world according to the Inrix traffic survey.
The complexity of the Belgian political landscape makes some transportation issues difficult to solve. The Brussels Capital Region is surrounded by the Flemish and Walloon regions, which means that the airports, as well as many roads serving Brussels (most notably the Brussels Ring) are located in the other two Belgian regions. Furthermore, in the Brussels Region itself, two ministers are currently responsible for transport: Pascal Smet for public transport and the port of Brussels and Bruno De Lille for other transportation topics.
Metro and light rail
The Brussels metro was first opened in 1976 and has been expanding since, to comprise as of 2009 a set of 4 metro lines serving a total of 60 metro stations, most of them being underground. Line 1 connects the Brussels-West station to the East of the city. Line 2 runs in a loop around the city centre. Line 5 runs between the West to the South-East of the city via the centre. Line 6 connects the King Baudouin Stadium at the north-west of Brussels, to the city centre, ending by a loop around the centre in the same way as line 2. Lines 3 and 4 are operated by major Brussels trams.
Brussels trams are an old transportation means in Brussels, operated by the STIB from 1954 on, but existing since 1869. The Brussels tram system evolved a lot over time, from a rise in the first half of the 20th century (246 km of tram rails were serviced in 1955) to a fall in the second half of the 20th century due to the popularisation of transport by bus and by car. In 1988 only 134 km of tram rails remained in Brussels. Finally, the reduced tram network was extended in the late 2000s with the extension of existing lines from 131 km in 2007 to 133 km in 2008.
The Infrabel railway network has a total of 8 lines used by passenger trains, which lie partly of completely within the region of Brussels. Those 8 lines serve a total of 29 railway stations in Brussels, all of which offer a correspondence with one or more STIB bus, tram and/or metro lines. This system is planned to be upgraded to the Brussels RER. The Brussels-South railway station is a major station on the European High Speed train network, being served by TGV, Thalys, Eurostar and ICE high speed train services.
The first Brussels bus ran in 1907 from the Brussels Stock Exchange to the Ixelles city hall. The bus network in Brussels now comprise 360 km of bus line by day and 112 km by night as of 2008, and service the 19 municipalities of Brussels. Buses operated by the Walloon (TEC) and Flemish (De Lijn) public transport companies also run in Brussels in order to allow Walloon and Flemish people to go to the capital city.
Brussels has the most congested traffic in North America and Europe according to US traffic information platform Inrix.
Roads in Brussels range from highways leading to neighbouring countries or cities(the European routes E40, E411 and E19 plus the A12 and A201 highways) to national roads, major roads down to local streets. Brussels is surrounded by the Brussels Ring, and is crossed by two smaller orbital roads: the Greater Ring and the Small Ring.
Brussels buses, trams, taxis, cars and bicycles share the road network in Brussels. A car-sharing system is operated by the public company STIB with Cambio.
Brussels is served by two airports, the Brussels National Airport located in the neighbouring municipality of Zaventem can be accessed by highway (A201), train and bus and the Brussels-South Charleroi Airport located between Brussels and Charleroi in Gosselies, which can be accessed by highway (E19 then E420) or a private bus.
The Taiwanese EVA Air provides private bus services from Saint-Gilles (Sint-Gillis) (near the Brussels-South (Midi) railway station) to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for its Belgian customers going to and from Taipei and/or Bangkok on flights departing from/arriving to Schiphol. The service is co-operated with Reizen Lauwers NV.
Brussels is characterised by a relatively low level of cycling compared to Flanders and many other north-western European cities. The modal share is about 3.5% of all trips within Brussels, and 2.5% of all trips within, and entering/exiting the city. However, the rate has increased significantly in recent years. Since 2009 a bicycle-sharing system named Villo! has been made available to the public.
Brussels has a high number of cycling accidents compared with Belgian rural areas but due to the urban context, most cycling accidents in Brussels result in only slight injuries.
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