Securail, the SNCB's security service, now carries out around ten random ticket checks in stations every day. Passengers must show their train ticket before boarding, and if they do not have one, they must first obtain one. The SNCB started these checks last year, but their number will increase sharply this year: there have already been some 3,500 checks since the beginning of 2023. By organising these actions, the SNCB wishes to remind passengers that they must have a valid ticket before boarding the train. Discussions with passengers who do not have a ticket are the main cause of assaults on trains. Thanks to these controls, these agitated discussions are kept off the trains.

Checks are carried out at random times and in random stations. Before a train departs, Securail security agents are stationed at the platform entrances or on the platform and then carry out a visual check of all passengers' tickets. Passengers who are unable to present a ticket are directed by the agents to the website, the SNCB application, automatic ticket machines or station ticket offices.

Extended tests in 2022

SNCB will begin these tests in 2022. Spread throughout the year, the checks took place before the departure of 55,000 trains, in around a hundred stations. It was found that at the time of the checks, the number of train tickets sold at automatic ticket machines or ticket offices increased significantly, sometimes by as much as 40%.

From this year onwards, the number of checks will be increased so that dozens of checks can be carried out every day, spread across the 550 stations. In the first two months of this year, almost 3,500 checks have already been carried out, representing around 11,000 trains and replacement buses checked.

Valid ticket required before boarding

By organising these actions, SNCB wishes to remind passengers that they must have a valid ticket before boarding the train. The options for buying a ticket have been extended and simplified in recent years, both on the app and website and at ticket machines.

Half of all tickets are bought at a ticket machine and 30% via the SNCB website or app. 13% of tickets are bought at ticket offices. However, 2% of tickets are still bought on board the train, which often provokes discussion. Passengers pay a supplement of 9 euros on board the train: a measure designed to encourage them to buy their ticket in advance.

Preventing discussions on trains

Control actions also serve as a means to avoid discussions on board the train. Discussions with passengers without a valid transport ticket accounted for about half of the 1,900 reported incidents of aggression towards SNCB staff last year.

To support Securail and personnel in trains and stations, SNCB plans to hire 150 new Securail security agents in 2023. Alongside their colleagues, their role is to enhance their presence in stations and trains. Security agents are authorized to conduct identity checks and issue fines for law violations.

SNCB appreciates the collaboration with railway police and local police but emphasizes the need for their visible presence in stations (and surroundings) and trains to support its own security service.