The best alternatives to owning a car in Brussels

By Charlotte Deprez Published 20/03/2017

Traffic and parking in Brussels can be a real hassle. Belgium’s capital city actually ranks in the most congested cities in Europe and North America, not the kind of statistic that makes you want to invest in a car. Zipcar, DriveNow, Villo… Here are a few options for the ones who need to get around the city but don’t need the trouble.


Zipcar is a car-sharing service that offers you access to on-demand cars anytime, anywhere in Brussels. You can basically find, pick up and drop off cars in the zone covered by the company in just a few taps.

The company has 250 Peugeot 208 scattered all over the city, so finding one is no biggy. Once registered and your car opened, you can find the keys in the car’s glove compartment and start the car. For the pricing, you’ll pay a one-time 19€ fee to join the platform, then 25 cents per minute when you’re actually using a car!

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BMW’s DriveNow system arrived in Brussels just a few months ago. It can be perceived as the high-end version of Zipcar, since you have the choice between 300 BMWs and Minis. The registration process is done directly through their app and it takes up to 3 days after you upload your documents to receive the member card by e-mail.

DriveNow’s app is very user friendly and enables its user to book a car and open it. The rest of the process is done through that car’s computer: you enter your pin code, answer a few questions then hit start and you’re good to go. In case of problem, you can just give a call to the company. DriveNow’s seamless user experience definitely makes it our top choice.

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Cambio is also a car-sharing service like DriveNow or Zipcar, with the major difference that you can’t pick up and drop off your wheels anywhere. Cambio works like Villo, but for cars: you pick up the car at its station and unlock it with your member card. Then at the end of your trip, you bring your car back to its station, making it a more constraining system than DriveNow or Zipacar.

The price varies depending on which tariff you choose among the four possibilities:

  • Start: for those who don’t drive very often
  • Bonus: for those who drive 50 to 200 km a month on average
  • Comfort: for those who frequently use a cambio car or often drive large distances
  • Campus: for those that aren’t 25 years or haven’t had there drivers license for at least 2 years.

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Ubeeqo is another car-sharing option. You can rent one of the 50 cars in Brussels for the period of time you need. For the payment, you can choose between:

  • A no-commitment service: depending on the car model, the prices range from 5€ to 6€ per hour and from 50€ to 60€ per day
  • A regular use subscription: 9€ per month to which you add 3,5€ to 4,5€ per hour or 35€ to 45€ per day, depending on the car model you use

Ubeeqo also has a car rental service in partnership with Europcar, meaning that you can get access to special discounted rates if you rent a car through Ubeeqo. Finally, they offer a cab service in partnership with CarAsap. What we really like about Ubeeqo is that you have an all-in-one app for any kind of trip!

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For longer commutes, you can rely on BlaBlaCar, a peer-to-peer ride-sharing service. You just need to register on the platform, enter your cities of departure and destination as well as your travel date, then choose from among the drivers offering routes that suit you.

The price of the ride varies depending on its length and the driver’s conditions. Since all the drivers are verified and rated, you know exactly what you’re getting into before even meeting the driver.

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Scooty is the DriveNow for electric scooters! It allows you to, after registering on the platform, rent a scooter near you thanks to geolocation. Once you’re done, you can just park it anywhere in Scooty’s activity area.

Since October 2016, we’re still in the test phase in Brussels: only 25 scooters are available and the defined activity area goes from the European district to Avenue Louise via the Central Station. In the spring of 2017, the number of scooters will normally be doubled. Within two years, Scooty intends to offer 700 shared scooters and cover all 19 municipalities of Brussels!

For the pricing, the membership fee is set at 25€ then it’s a pay-per-ride system: 0,25€ per minute of use. However the minimum price of a ride is set at 2,5 EUR for the first ten minutes. If you temporarily pause or park the Scooty, you will pay 0,05€ per minute.

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For short distances, renting a bicycle can be the quickest, most eco-friendly and cost-effective option. Brussels has a pretty huge network of bikes for rent spread over nearly 360 Villo stations in the city.

You have three subscription options: one day (1,60€), 7 days (7,90€) or for one year (33,60€). For the first two types of subscriptions, you can go through all the steps at the terminal located at the Villo station. For the one-year subscription, you need to apply online: count two weeks to receive your validation.

Once registered, it’s very simple: the first half-hour is always free then you pay an additional 50 cents fee per additional half hour. If you don’t know where the closest Villo station is,  you can always use their app to locate it.

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About the author Hello there! I'm Charlotte, based in beautiful Brussels and passionate about traveling, food and photography. Follow me @thetinynomad!