Public transport moves bus stops out of North Station

Summary

Due to the migrant camp established next to the bus stops in Brussels’ North Station, both MIVB and De Lijn are terminating lines earlier or stopping outside the station

‘Situation is deteriorating’

Flemish public transport operator De Lijn and its Brussels equivalent, MIVB, have temporarily moved their bus stops out of North Station because of health and safety concerns. The tunnel underneath the station where the bus stops are located is also where migrants and transmigrants have been camping for more than a year.

Both public transit authorities have been complaining about the situation since last autumn, and De Lijn moved their buses out for a few days at that time. Migrants awaiting housing or passing through Belgium on their way to somewhere else are essentially living in the space inside the station that looks out onto the bus stops.

Because there are no facilities, rubbish and human waste have become a daily problem. Not only are the transport operators concerned, passengers are complaining. “The health situation is deteriorating, and to ensure the comfort of our passengers and drivers, we have also decided to act by diverting bus lines,” said an MIVB spokesperson.

Cases of scabies and tuberculosis were reported among some of the migrants staying in the station, so regional waste collection agency Net Brussel says about a dozen of its staff who will be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B and equipped with overalls and a mask.

De Lijn, which pulled out of the nearly tunnel a week ago, said the new arrangements were working well. Buses from Leuven are stopping at Rogierplein, while others are now terminating at Simonis or Bockstael.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA