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Commuting between Ghent and Brussels by a school student

Pondicherry, India
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Commuting between Ghent and Brussels by a school student

Dear All,

I am relocating to Ghent shortly. I would like to join my child (9th Grade) in any International (English) school at Ghent. But, so far I couldn't find any such school in Ghent. So I thought of joining him at Brussels. It is advisable for a boy of 13 years to commute between Ghent University to BICS at Brussels. What would be an average time of commuting both sides daily and what would be the cost. Are there any concessions for school students in trains/buses. Are there bus services for the school at Brussels from Ghent.

With regards

Babu

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Commuting between Ghent and Brussels by a school student

This is not a "travel to Belgium" question, but concerns living in the country, so you would do better to address your queries to e.g. www.xpats.com, which has a q&a section. Schooling, season tickets and proof of residence are not issues that concern tourists.

However, firstly you can see from the school's website - http://www.bicschool.be/en/contact-bics/ - that there is no mention of school buses. The Ch. de Wavre address is on the route of STIB bus 34, but this does not serve any of the stations you arrive at from Gent St. Pieters station - which are Bruxelles Midi, Central and Nord in that order - meaning that your son would have to take a tram to GSP station, then train to Brussels, then either metro plus bus or 2 buses!

From http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en you can see that the train part alone would take 36 mins by the fastest trains to Bruxelles-Central (otherwise 1h10). In fact it would probably be best to get off at Bruxelles-Midi, take the metro to Porte de Namur and then the 34 bus from there, to the stop Etangs or Fétis (#457 is between the two, on the corner of rue de Theux). This adds at least 30 mins to the journey, not counting the time needed to get to Gent St. Pieters station from wherever you would be living in Ghent - say, 10 mins on the tram, plus waiting/changing time. I would consider it necessary to allow 1 1/2 to 2 hrs for this journey, each way.

As a resident of Flanders (you have to show local ID card/residence permit), your son will be entitled to a season ticket covering De Lijn services in Flanders, which includes buses and trams in Ghent; and he can also get a season ticket for the train (SNCB/NMBS), and indeed a COMBINED season ticket covering De Lijn pllus train; but as he will not be a resident of Brussels, he cannot get any reduction on STIB buses, trams and metro here and would therefore pay the same as an adult.

From www.delijn.be/vervoerbewijzen/index.htm you can see that a "Buzzy Pazz" for Flanders alone costs €23,50 for 1 month, €66/3m and €182/12m, OR €5,40/week, €18,70/1m, €51/3m, €134/12m ON TOP of an NMBS "school railcard" (belgianrail.be/en/…railcard-school.aspx), which from Ghent to Brussels costs €31/1m, €86/3m or €308/12m - so without transport in Brussels you are looking at an annual cost of minimum €308 + €134 = €442.

For Brussels, on the basis of the NMBS (train) pass, as already mentioned, you cannot get a J-ticket (http://www.stib.be/abonnement-j.html?l=en) as this is only for youths resident in the BRUSSELS region. It looks as though it might be possible to buy a "school season ticket" which will cost €160, as there is no mention of residency requirement (http://www.mivb.be/MTB_scolaire.html?l=en). However, if this too is limited to residents of Brussels, the only option would be the same as for an adult, which is the STIB add-on on top of SNCB railcard, costing €14,30/week, €47,50/month, €133/3m or €499/12m (http://www.mivb.be/abo-plus-sncb.html?l=en - potentially bringing the annual cost of the total journey up to €943; but hopefully, €602 with school season ticket.

You would have to start with the SNCB/NMBS (train) season ticket as it is the key to the add-on versions of the other 2, and I believe you can get the other 2 from them as well (so at Gent St. Pieters station); and the ticket clerks are of course the experts in what documents are needed to obtain these.

Of course Ghent is too small a city to have an international school, but there are two in Antwerp which, being in Flanders, would mean using only 2 transport companies - De Lijn in Ghent and Antwerp (so DL season ticket would cover both) and NMBS/SNCB between those cities. It takes 52-56 mins by train from GSP to Antwerpen-Centraal (44-47 from Gent-Dampoort, which is on the line between Ghent and Antwerp: a different line from the one that goes from Ostend and Brugge to Brussels)

2. Re: Commuting between Ghent and Brussels by a school student

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