Brussels bus stop ‘Mystère’ is no mystery

March 8, 2023 GMT

CLAIM: A public bus called “Not the 48” in Brussels takes riders to a mystery location for free.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. No such bus exists, although the real 48 bus in Brussels does have a stop near the street Rue du Mystère called “Mystère/Mysterie.” The Twitter user who started the rumor revealed in later comments that he intended it as a joke.

THE FACTS: If a free, adventurous mystery bus in the heart of Belgium seems too good to be true, it’s because it is.

The false claims fooled social media users this week after a Twitter user posted a photo of a Brussels city bus with “Mystère” displayed across its front screen and “Mysterie” along the side.

“Not only is public transport free in Brussels, but they even have a bus called ‘Not The 48’ which takes you to a mystery location if you’re feeling a bit down or you just don’t have anything to do that day,” read the tweet, which was shared more than 4,000 times. “Something for other cities to consider.”

But the bus pictured in the image is the 48 bus in Brussels, which has a stop along its line called “Mystère/Mysterie.” A street near the stop is called Rue du Mystère.

The image in the tweet shows the bus is labeled 48, with a red slash through the number. Social media users suggested the slash means the bus isn’t terminating at its usual stop.

The Twitter post’s claim that public transport is free in Brussels is also false, though children under 6 years old do ride free and students and seniors get heavily discounted rates.

The claim spread to Reddit and Facebook before the Twitter user clarified the joke in comments.

“The amount of people not getting the joke(s) in this tweet is quite outstanding,” one Twitter user commented in the thread. “It’s always an education :D,” the original poster replied.

The Twitter user made the same joke in a tweet in 2019.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.