Bus privatisation too hasty, says report

The process for putting public transport services out to tender needs to be completely overhauled, according to an independent commission which looked into the chaos surrounding bus privatisation in Noord-Brabant.

Noord-Brabant had originally signed a deal with state-owned Connexxion – but it withdrew after discovering serious problems with its calculations, leading to a long legal wrangle and strikes.
The commission said events showed the liberalisation process needed to be given more time and there should be more attention paid to the social importance of good public transport.
In response, trade union federation, FNV, called for a moratorium on further liberalisation in the public sector – with postal services, public transport and healthcare top of its list of concerns.
Privatisation had proved to be disastrous for both the quality of service and personnel, said FNV chairwoman Agnes Jongerius. Liberalisation was profitable for companies and shareholders, but workers end up with fewer rights while consumers pay more for a similar – or worse – service, she said.
Transport users group Rover said the image of bus travel was being damaged. The recent safety problems on Arriva buses stopped people using public transport, spokesman Kees Braam said.

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