With the administrative procedure, a railway company can oblige you to pay.

 This starts with a registered letter from the railway company. This must contain the following:

  • the facts (why you received the fine);
  • the possible penalty;
  • the fact that you can lodge an objection (complaint) within thirty days by registered letter (minors may also do this orally);
  • that you are entitled to assistance from a lawyer;
  • that you are entitled to read what is in your dossier;
  • a copy of the 'official report' or 'the recording'.

 If the railway company accepts your objection, the matter is concluded. You will not have to pay the fine. If the railway company does not accept your objection, or if the thirty days to lodge an objection have passed, you will receive an administrative fine.

 If you receive an administrative fine, you have three possibilities:

  1. Pay the fine.
  2. Go to court yourself (you can request assistance from a lawyer). To this end, you must submit a petition within one month to the police court or, for minors, to the juvenile court.
  3. You do not pay and do not go to court either. After one month, the railway company may solicit a bailiff for 'compulsory enforcement' (seizure and public sale of your property).


You can find information about lawyers here.

Please note: if the railway company sends the registered letter, our intervention can no longer suspend the case. Ombudsrail can mediate, but the administrative procedure simply continues. That is why it is important to ask for our mediation as quickly as possible.

You can find us here.

If you are caught on a SNCB train travelling without a (valid) ticket, there is first an 'amicable phase'.

The train conductor who records that you are travelling without a (valid) ticket will give you an electronic ticket (RFID) containing a 'regularisation'. You can only read what it says with the help of a train attendant, a ticket office employee, an automatic vending machine or the SNCB website.

 You must pay the fine of 75 euros indicated on the ticket within 14 calendar days. If you do not pay, SNCB can send you a reminder (not recorded delivery).

 Paying means (in principle) that you agree with the fine. Payment concludes the matter.

 If you do not agree with the fine, you can lodge a complaint with SNCB. If you can convince it to overturn the fine, then the matter is concluded. You will not have to pay the fine.

 If you do not pay and SNCB does not accept your (possible) objection, the amicable phase ends and the administrative procedure starts (see next point). SNCB must inform you of such via a registered letter.

 

Please note: contact us as quickly as possible if you do not agree with a fine and want Ombudsrail to mediate. Our (possible) intervention can suspend the amicable phase. This means that SNCB cannot start the administrative procedure as long as we are mediating.

You can find us here.


Only railway companies with a public interest role, such as organising collective public transport, may impose administrative fines. In Belgium, this is currently only SNCB, which organises rail transport for passengers, and Infrabel, which manages the railway infrastructure. For example, Infrabel can impose fines for, inter alia, rail trails and dangerous constructions or tall trees that are too close to the tracks.

 Purely commercial railway companies such as Thalys and Eurostar cannot therefore impose administrative fines.


There are three types of offences that you can commit as a rail passenger:

1. Criminal offence

These are violations of the 'Law of the policing of the Railways of 27 April 2018'. The punishment is a prison sentence of between eight days and five years, and/or a fine of at least 26 euros. These cases go via the courts.

An example: within twelve months, being caught ten times without a ticket.

2. Mixed offence

In the case of a 'mixed' offence, there are two possibilities: either the public prosecutor's office will prosecute you (as in point 1 above), or the public prosecutor's office will not prosecute you and you will receive an administrative fine (as in point 3 below).

 This is for fouling or destroying property, anti-social behaviour and violence.

3. Decriminalised offences

These are the administrative fines. Not only do the railway companies impose the fine, they also determine the penalty.

 An example: not presenting a ticket to the train conductor (and no more than nine times within 12 months).

 

There are four kinds of administrative fines:

Category 1

Standard: 50 euro
2nd offence within the same year: 75 euro
From the third offence within the same year: 150 euro
For example: smoking where this is prohibited.

Category 2

Standard: 100 euro
2nd offence within the same year: 250 euro
From the third offence within the same year: 350 euro
For example: boarding or alighting the train when this is prohibited.

Category 3

Standard: 250 euro
From the 2nd offence within the same year: 500 euro
For example: travelling without a (valid) ticket.

Category 4

Standard: 300 euro
From the 2nd offence within the same year: 500 euro
For example: vandalism.
 

An administrative fine for a minor (from 14 to 18 years old) cannot be higher than 175 euro.