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Senate tears up big city public transport tender plan

Tuesday 08 May 2012

Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague may be able to keep their public transport services in house because the senate has voted against legislation to force through privatisation, news agency Novum said on Tuesday.

The 10 senators representing the anti-Islam PVV voted with the opposition to halt the legislation which requires the big three cities to allow private firms to compete to supply tram, bus and metro services.

The three cities have been fighting the proposal since it was first mooted in 2000. Although most local and regional transport services are now contracted out, parliament supported the cities' refusal to comply, saying their services were too complex.

Transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen continued to press ahead with the plans, saying the move would improve efficiency and cut costs by a total €120m.

Now the cabinet has fallen and the PVV is no longer part of the governing alliance, PVV senators were free to vote against the plan. It is unclear whether the three cities will now halt the tender process.

Bus companies in the three cities went on strike several times in protest at the plans.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Too bad. I'm all for public-private partnership instead of socialistic, state-controlled transportation companies.

Moreover, more COMPETITION is needed. For instance, if trams and subways belong to different companies, they can compete for passengers. Also it would be nice to have more than one bus company, and buses competing with trains and trams and RandstadRail.

By Andre L. | 8 May 2012 4:46 PM

Cost should be lower, but not privatized. Privatization is just a scam to transfer public wealth to private thieves. Competition in this vertical is a farce. All it would do is cut transport lines and put more people into cars. Which is actually the true and real plan of the privatizers anyway. It is better to have these companies in democratically controlled and in the hands of the people. We need more democratic control of transport, not more tyranny of 'market forces' and the privatizers!

By Kevin | 8 May 2012 6:34 PM

Such a shame. I was hoping we might no longer have to put up with HTM bus drivers in the Hague smoking on the buses and ignoring you when you ask them to extinguish their cigarettes. We might no longer have to put up with unsightly bus drivers who are disfigured with piercings and tattoos, and look as if they've just escaped from prison. By striking they're showing they think they are there to serve themselves, not the public. Privatisation is only a worry for employees who are not customer-friendly and fear having to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.

By John T. | 8 May 2012 7:14 PM

Excellent news! If transport were privatised, it would turn into a business rather than a service. Non-profitable routes would be cut, timetables reduced, etc. I've seen this happen in the UK, and was dread to see a similar proposal effect the excellent public transportation services that we have in Amsterdam.

By Anton | 8 May 2012 9:11 PM

Interesting dilemma - why is it that the state wants to privatise because they have to subsidise, but private companies can make money on exactly the same service? That of course is BS. The State ends up giving away the profitable portion and keeping the expensive bits - which then cost the taxpayer even more over time. The State should not loose sight of the fact that they offer a PUBLIC SERVICE based on the NEEDS of the taxpaying public and not on the profitability of the service. Privatisation ignores this.

By Allan Poot | 9 May 2012 10:45 AM

@Andre, Public/private partnerships have done nothing to reduce fares or costs in the U.K. Competition sometimes brings down prices, but other times leads to illegal collusion. If you want a less socialistic system, maybe you should move.

By Zack | 9 May 2012 10:55 AM

@Zack: why is that so many people on this board, usually fellow expats, are always patronizing others who disagree with them suggesting they should "move" if they don't agree with some specific minor policy like public transportation?

By Andre L. | 9 May 2012 9:50 PM

Back in 2002, when visiting friends in Amsterdam, I could buy a single ticket which covered train & bus or metro.
It was much quicker & more convenient.
Privetisation may reduce costs for goverment but not for the public.

By Donaugh | 10 May 2012 10:38 AM

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