Public Transportation in Brussels
The Metro in Brussels consists of four lines, Line 1 (magenta), Line 2 (red), Line 5 (yellow) and Line 6 (blue). I’ve included a picture of the metro above, but I also have the site linked here if you want to print a copy. Read up on ticketing before you go, because we found several automated ticketing machines that were most certainly not in English- just French and Dutch. That can make a very simple metro system suddenly seem very complicated.
For a single ride- you want to get a Jump 1 ticket (€2.10 per ticket). With this ticket, you can jump on or off any public bus, tram, or metro in Brussels for one hour. Validate your ticket! If you want to ride for a day, get the Jump 1 Jour or Jump 1 Dag (€7.50) which will remain valid x 24 hours and again, can be used for any public bus, tram, or metro. There are vending machines in front of many of the metro stations where you can purchase tickets. Many of the kiosks require you to use coins and won’t accept card, so save your Euro coins! If you want to get 24 hour cards for 5 or 10 days, you can- but first, you have to buy a smartcard for 5 Euro that you load/re-load as necessary. You’re probably better off just sticking with the single-ride cards or the Jump 1 Jour card since Brussels is so very walkable. As in many other cities, we primarily used the metro system because it’s second nature for us to navigate a metro but the tram system here is excellent. Added bonus? Some of the metro stops are decorated by Belgian artists and are particularly beautiful.
Brussels has a unique “pre-metro line” system – it’s essentially a tram within a tunnel – which connects the metro to the tram system, and the pre-metro lines to the above-ground trams as well. Again, one ticket is good for all forms of public transportation, same prices, same system, just be sure to validate in the orange boxes within the trams and buses should you use them. A note- if you purchase a ticket from the driver instead of using a kiosk or vendor, the price does shoot up to 2,50 €. There is an amazing map of the lines found here.
Buses do not run as frequently as the trams or the metro and are most useful if you’re looking to get off at a particular stop that is only utilized by the bus system. You probably won’t utilize the buses in Brussels unless you use them for late-night transport. There is a night bus system on FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ONLY that is helpful. If you’re out late, don’t try to walk home- it’s particularly dangerous to do that in Brussels and the night bus system can get you home with alot less risk. The buses are part of the ‘Noctis’ system and run from 12:15 a.m. to 3 a.m. REMEMBER: YOU ARE STUCK AFTER 3 A.M. unless you want to take a taxi or an uber. Again, I would not advise walking home anytime past midnight.
***REMEMBER THAT THE DOORS TO THE TRAMS AND METROS DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY OPEN AT STOPS- YOU MUST PULL THE LEVER. IN THE SAME BREATH, BUSES AND TRAMS DO NOT STOP UNLESS YOU SIGNAL THE DRIVER!***