The government is to put €16m into regional bus services to fund a pay rise for drivers and end the ongoing bus strike, junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga announced on Wednesday.
Transport unions said bus services would return to normal on Thursday, ending weeks of industrial action.
The money will be split between the 12 Dutch provincial governments, who are responsible for contracting out and subsidising bus services.
Last week striking bus drivers and the private bus companies agreed a 3.5% pay deal, but failed to work out how to fund the increase, leading drivers to continue their strike outside rush hour.
The bus companies – Connexxion, Arriva and Veolia – say they can not fund the increase because of the sharp rise in petrol prices. Ticket prices are pegged by the government, giving bus firms few options to boost their income.
In addition to the one-off capital injection, Huizinga is to give bus firms the green light to introduce fuel and inflation surcharges on tickets to compensate for soaring petrol prices from next year.
‘I have not ended the conflict, but looked at the contracts,’ Huizinga told reporters. ‘I have done all I can to improve the climate [between unions and employers].’
Details of how the fuel surcharge would work were still sketchy at press time. According to the Volkskrant, passengers will face a surcharge based on the number of kilometres they travel.
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