We only had one day in Brussels, and we wanted to make the most of it. So, we decided to take the Brussels Sightseeing Bus as it gives one an excellent overview of a city before you decide where to embark and explore further.
We rushed from our hotel, the Ibis Brussels Off-Grand Place when we noticed that it was almost 9:00 and the busses would start their routes for the day soon. Lucky, the Brussels Sightseeing Bus, is located just behind the Hotel ibis Brussels off Grand Place.
Buying the tickets
When we arrived at the bus station, the driver told us that we could only buy tickets using cash! We were flabbergasted! We have always used our credit cards for buying Sightseeing Bus tickets. But the driver was adamant – we had to look for an ATM.
Service on board the bus
Once again we were lucky – the nearest ATM was just about 100metres from the bus stop. We ran, took out the money and rushed back to the bus. The driver was not very friendly to us or the other customers, in fact, at times he was just downright rude!
The facilities on the bus
After finally buying our tickets, we went upstairs. The condition of the bus was disappointing. The seats were broken, and there were holes in the cover on the roof, and it was freezing! The bus was also quite dirty.
We were meant to leave at 9:00, but we eventually left at 9:30 when the bus was full. We were a bit surprised at this since the next bus was supposed to have arrived at 9:20 for the next load of people, but it never showed up.
The routes and bus stops
The Brussels Sightseeing Bus has two routes. We chose one with the intention of doing the other route in the afternoon to maximise the sites we see. Our route, the blue one, took about 2,5 hours. A suggestion would be for the routes to be shortened, but to have more than just two routes since they are both quite long.
The drive itself was pleasant. But the bus stops were not clearly marked and were sometimes quite far from the sights to see, meaning you still had to walk quite a distance from the bus stop before getting to your destination.
When we arrived back at the starting point, we waited 30 minutes for the bus for the red route, but it never showed up.
We were disappointed with the customer service, the fact that one could not use a credit card to buy tickets and also the state of the bus facilities. It did not leave a good impression of Brussels with us.