“176 euros a month to take my bike on the train!”: Angry commuters chastise SNCB fares

Is the price of taking your bike on a train too high? In any case, this is the feeling of many users. Alicia contacted us using the orange notice button. She calculated that if her husband had to take his bike on the train to work, it would cost him 176 euros a month. He is not the only one who is surprised by these amounts. How are they justified by the SNCB? Survey on the sidelines of mobility week.

Commuting by bike to various activities is becoming more and more popular in Belgium. Some cyclists take their bikes on the train every day, and for some the price set by the SNCB should be revised.

Alicia, who contacted our newsroom through the orange Notify Us button, was recently shocked by the amount asked from her husband. “For budgetary and ecological reasons, my husband decided to go to his workplace by train. He buys a pass for 95 euros a month, at the moment, it is reasonable, except that on D-day, when he arrives at the station with his bike, they asked him €4 extra per journey with his bike on the train, so €8 a day to take his bike… that’s €176 a month + €95 season ticket. What sense have to look for the organic? alternatives in Belgium? Still a big nonsense”, she writes To discuss this tariff issue, we also met Laurent, a commuter who travels Brussels-Gembloux and Gembloux-Rhisnes every day to also go to his workplace. He says he adjusted the price to be able to combine train and bike.

“My work is in an area next door. And since I’m a construction manager, I have to get around and I use the same methods for all my trips. Are there any obstacles to taking the bike on the train? It depends of the lines. There are trains that are now pre-equipped for cycling. There are old trains where you have to put bikes on platforms. Otherwise, it’s relatively well developed now.” he believes

Regarding the price of 4 euros to take a non-folding bicycle on the train, Laurent adds that according to him, “There are journeys for which it is relatively cheap. If you have to do Brussels-Luxembourg, 4 euros, compared to the price of the ticket (around twenty euros), it is not excessive. But since it is the same price for all commuting, it ends up being relatively expensive. If I take the bike every day, it costs me as much as my pass. It’s a few hundred euros a month.”

His train pass costs him 170 euros a month, for twenty days at work. “Add 8 euros a day for the bike, it would be 160 euros. It’s about the same price. It’s quite a big cost and that’s why I bought a second folding bike (free, no need to pay extra to take it to the train) Every day I take the folding bike and when I have to make long trips I take a more comfortable bike (8 euros a day) If you offered me a pass at half the price, at 80 euros for example, I would have kept mine regular bike.”

Alongside the SNCB, spokeswoman Elisa Roux confirms a craze for the bicycle-train combination among travelers. It also indicates that there is currently no planned reflection on tariffs.

The price of 4 euros is very interesting for long distances

“The first thing to remember is that bringing the folding bike on board the train is free, because you can store it under your seat or between two seats. On the other hand, for a non-folding bike, there will be 4 euros. the journey. Why 4 euros? We see that when our users take a non-folding bike on board the train, it is more for a long distance. They will prefer to borrow a non-folding bike for a trip to the Ardennes or by the sea. The price of 4 euros then it’s very interesting. To cover short distances they could do very well by bicycle.” says Elisa Roux.

Since June, to encourage this combination on board every IC train, which goes to the Coast or the Ardennes, the SNCB says that it wants to guarantee that there is a multifunctional car, which is added to the train. “There will be 10 extra seats on all these trains. And we’ve seen a lot of commuters take their bikes. There are 160,000 commuters who took their bikes in July and August.”

And add: “For non-folding bicycles, we want to increase the number of spaces. We can already say that in 2026 the spaces for non-folding bicycles will increase by almost half. We are currently at 4,500 spaces and will reach 6,800. bicycle spaces non-folding with the gradual arrival of the M7s, double-decker cars, which have a functional car, each with 10 bicycle spaces. The number of bicycle spaces will increase on board our trains.”

For Luc Goffinet, project manager of Gracq (Research and Action Group for Everyday Cyclists), taking the train with your bike is always a trip full of pitfalls.

“There are things that work well and others not so well. There are good aspects of the train + bike combination, but there are still things to improve. What needs to be improved is the accessibility of the trains. In many trains, the passenger compartment bicycles can only be improved. be opened by the train conductor. Sometimes you wait for the train conductor who is not there, who is at the other end of the platform, “ points out.

The supplement must be proportional to the distance

The Gracq also requests that there be more spaces dedicated to bicycles. “There are still trains with two bicycle hooks, which are very few. The SNCB made efforts last year. We added some carriages and added a few seats, but we can still do better because there are periods when it really is insufficient.

Regarding the price set at 4 euros per journey for taking a non-folding bicycle, Luc Goffinet believes that this supplement should be “proportional to the distance. Because you can make a very short trip and you will pay more for the bike than for you. The contribution to the costs as such, we are not concerned. On the other hand, the amount… 4 euros to go to the sea , it’s not expensive, but 4 euros to go 10 km, it’s really a lot.”

And to conclude: “There are other countries where it’s worth putting your bike on the train. That’s not the problem. It’s the amount that is asked for short distances. The ticket, now we’ll get it, either on the Internet, or in a vending machine, from one station to another. We can make a ticket quite easily with a variable price.”

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