De Lijn building new bus stops outside North Station

Summary

The Flemish transport operators is abandoning the tunnel that serves as the station’s bus hub due to the ongoing homeless situation

‘It feels unsafe’

De Lijn will leave the underground bus station at Brussels North station later this year, after long-running concerns about safety and hygiene. The Flemish public transport operator temporarily stopped serving North Station twice in recent months, due to the migrants and other homeless people living there.

The Brussels-Capital Region has approved the construction of two new bus stops at street level on Noordplein, on the south side of the station. Three months of building work will begin in September.

“We have been asking for a solution for a long time,” a De Lijn spokesperson said. “But the issue with transit migrants has made it all the more urgent.”

For about two years now, the bus terminus has been inhabited by transit migrants. There are entrances to the lower floor of North Station from the bus hub. It offers shelter and some warmth, but no facilities, such as toilets or waste disposal.

De Lijn drivers have long complained about human waste and unsafe conditions. “The current bus stops are dark and far apart,” said the spokesperson. “If you’re there alone, it feels unsafe. Now we are putting all the stops together in one place.”

De Lijn director Roger Kesteloot told VRT last November: “Our drivers are people, our passengers are people, and the transmigrants and homeless of Brussels are people. To be honest, the situation that is being allowed to continue is not the way you treat people.”

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA