1. Download and install the "FTQ-Lab" app on your smartphone (please use the link you received by email if you have been selected to test the app, so that we can be sure that you have the version of SNCB "FTQ Lab" app that works in Belgium).
  2. Open the SNCB "FTQ Lab" app app and register your phone number, personal information, and a means of payment (our partner FAIRTIQ will ask this).
  3. Select the class that fits your valid transport ticket (Not yet possible in this test phase, for the time being you can only travel in 2nd class).
  4. All set, just slide the big button to the right to check in on your first trip.

The app is quite easy to use:

  1. Once you are within a 500m radius of your departure station, open the app.
  2. Check that the displayed station is the one you are departing from, if necessary, edit it.
  3. Check in (slide the big button to the right).
  4. Once arrived at your destination, check out (slide the big button to the left). If you forget to do so, the app should warn you at some point.
  5. Check that the registered route is correct.
  6. All done, thank you!
We will invite you and confirm your participation in the following weeks or months. We want to grant access to the app gradually.
FAIRTIQ is an innovative Swiss start-up based in Bern. Its goal is to make the use of public transport as easy as possible. So this company takes care of the technical aspect of the SNCB FTQ app.

SNCB "FTQ Lab" app sells these 4 tickets:

  • Standard Ticket: the ticket that works under any circumstances. Its price depends on the distance.
  • Weekend Ticket: a round trip ticket* that is about half the price of a Standard Ticket. From 7 p.m. Friday until Sunday only.
  • Youth Ticket: for anyone that is under 26 years old. Fixed price of €6.60 per journey.
  • Senior Ticket: for anyone over 65. Fixed price of €7.20 per round trip*.

SNCB "FTQ Lab" app will consider these 4 tickets after you have finished your trip. Depending on your age, the time and day of the week, and whether you’ve made a single or round trip, SNCB "FTQ Lab" app will charge you with the cheapest option of these four. If, for example, a Standard Ticket was charged for a one-way journey on Saturday, but you returned on Sunday (and a Weekend Ticket was therefore the best option), this will be adjusted on your final invoice.

The prices for the Senior and Youth Tickets are fixed (see above). However, the prices of the Standard Ticket and the Weekend Ticket depend on the travelling distance. You can always simulate those prices upfront by looking them up on the SNCB website.

* Be aware that you won’t be billed a Senior Ticket or Weekend Ticket if you do not make a round trip. Instead, you will be billed a Standard Ticket or a Youth ticket depending on your age.

For the time being, you can only travel in 2nd class. In the long run, we foresee the possibility to travel 1st class as well.
The app should register all journeys in Belgium.

Brussels Airport - Zaventem station is fitted with access gates. Passengers travelling to or from Brussels Airport need to scan their travel ticket at the gates in order to get into the station. You will need to scan the QR code of FTQ Lab.

How?

  1. Go to a gate with a green arrow.
  2. Make sure you checked in with the FTQ Lab app (if you checked out, you will need to check in again).
  3. Scan the QR code displayed on the FTQ Lab homescreen. Make sure that your screen’s contrast is set correctly to ensure optimal readability.
  4. The gate will open and you're free to enter or leave the station.
  1. Check if the GPS data are accurate on Maps/Google Maps.
  2. Check if your internet data are working on Safari/Chrome.
  3. Check that you are not connected to a public wifi that requires registration.
  4. Completely close SNCB "FTQ Lab" app.
  5. Open the app and try again.

Please note:

  • On HUAWEI phones, please open Settings > Security & Privacy > Location Services and make sure that High Accuracy is selected.
  • On SAMSUNG devices, please open Settings > Connections and make sure that the most precise location service has been activated.
  • You might have a VPN client active (e.g. My Data Manager) which prevents you from using SNCB "FTQ Lab" app. Please make sure that your VPN client allows SNCB "FTQ Lab" app, if not deactivate it.
After every check-in, you have a few seconds to cancel it.
Generally, if no movement has been detected between your accidental check-in and your check-out, there won't be an issue.
  • You need a smartphone with iOS 12.4 (or newer) or Android 7.0 (or newer).
  • You need a smartphone with a functioning SIM card that allows mobile data. We suggest using SNCB "FTQ Lab" app with a mobile data flat fee.
  • SNCB "FTQ Lab" app does not support jailbroken or rooted devices.

Some smartphones have an energy-saving mode that deactivates location services required by SNCB "FTQ Lab" app to track your journeys. To solve the problem, you have the option to make SNCB "FTQ Lab" app a protected app. To do so, open Settings > Power Saving > Protected app > turn the service on for SNCB "FTQ Lab" app.
SNCB "FTQ Lab" app is not compatible with Windows Phones and does not appear on the Microsoft store.

Mobile Data Usage
Once activated, SNCB "FTQ Lab" app sends and receives about 1MB of data per hour.

Battery
SNCB "FTQ Lab" app requires access to the GPS during a journey. We measured the battery usage of SNCB "FTQ Lab" app on the various phone models and operating systems. On average we noted that SNCB "FTQ Lab" app uses around 5% per hour.
The battery empties much faster if other apps/features are used alongside SNCB "FTQ Lab" app.

iOS (iPhone) - Why does SNCB "FTQ Lab" app need permission to “always” access location?

SNCB "FTQ Lab" app has to be able to track the journey even when the SNCB "FTQ Lab" app app is not visible in the foreground / on the screen. Therefore, the location permission "always" is necessary.
Having the permission to always access the location data allows us to continue your journey and provide you with a valid ticket even if the app crashes in the background or if you accidentally close it.

Android - Which location access setting does SNCB "FTQ Lab" app need?

With Android 10, it's sufficient to allow only while using the app.

When and how does SNCB "FTQ Lab" app access your location data?

To locate the available check-in stations next to you, SNCB "FTQ Lab" app accesses your location when the app is open. Having an ongoing (checked-in) journey SNCB "FTQ Lab" app collects your location data to compute the best price available for the chosen route and vehicle combination. FAIRTIQ will never collect or access your location data if you have no ongoing journey (=checked-out) and the app closed. This is also stated in our general terms and conditions and our privacy policy.

What happens with location data sent to SNCB "FTQ Lab" app?

To provide support to our customers and for fraud recognition, the data is stored for one year. Journeys older than one year are automatically detached from the customer.
We use the data anonymously to further optimise the travel calculation through machine learning. SNCB "FTQ Lab" app does not create motion profiles of individual users. Nor does SNCB "FTQ Lab" app sell any related customer data to 3rd parties.

To correctly record your journey, SNCB "FTQ Lab" app needs access to your GPS data. With the newest updates of Android, many mechanisms stop SNCB "FTQ Lab" app from getting location data. For that reason, we can’t track some journeys and therefore close them.
To correctly locate you, your phone also uses WIFI and Bluetooth technology. It is therefore useful to keep these technologies activated during your journeys (they do not need to be connected).

If you’ve experienced a GPS issue, please follow these steps before your next SNCB "FTQ Lab" app journey:

  1. Make sure SNCB "FTQ Lab" app is allowed to use your location (Settings > Apps > SNCB "FTQ Lab" app > Permissions > Toggle Location on). Also, make sure that you've allowed SNCB "FTQ Lab" app to use GPS in the background.
  2. Disable any battery saver settings. Including Power Saving Mode, Battery Management, or any third-party apps.
  3. Check that your location settings are set to High Accuracy (Settings > Additional Settings > Privacy > Location > Set to High Accuracy).

New smartphone

If you intend to use SNCB "FTQ Lab" app with a new smartphone, make sure that this smartphone meets the technical requirements.
Your SNCB "FTQ Lab" app account is linked to your phone number. If your number remains similar, you will be able to log in to your existing SNCB "FTQ Lab" app account.

New mobile phone number

If you change your mobile phone number you will be required to register again (= create a new account), as the user profile is linked to the mobile number. You will therefore lose your travel history.

Change of mobile network provider

If you change your mobile network provider without changing your mobile phone number SNCB "FTQ Lab" app will continue to work.

As this is a pilot test (meaning we are checking whether we want to make SNCB "FTQ Lab" app a real thing in the future), we want to get feedback from you. For example: do you like it (and if not, why?), are there things we should improve before releasing it to the public, etc. That’s why you might be invited to give your opinion about your experience with SNCB "FTQ Lab" app so far. We will strive to find the right balance to learn from you without spamming you. As a rule of thumb, our email addresses generally end as …@belgiantrain.be or …@fairtiq.com.

For online surveys, we tend to work with CheckMarket and Typeform.

Be aware that you can always spontaneously leave some feedback via nmbs-sncb.feedback@fairtiq.com.

Here is more information about suspicious emails.

We do not know yet, it depends on the success of the pilot. At least several months.
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