The government has given The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam an extra year to prepare to put their public transport services out to tender.
The tendering process should have been ready by January 2012, but transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen has delayed this until 2013.
‘I want passengers to have good public transport,’ Schultz is quoted as saying. ‘Contracting out should lead to better quality and opportunities, not a worse service…. I want to give the metropolitan regions the time to prepare for a careful tendering process.’
All three cities oppose the government’s plan and want to keep public transport in public hands.
Schultz van Haegen wants to save €122m on public transport in the three cities over four years.
Amsterdam city council executive Eric Wiebes said on Tuesday the cuts would lead to the loss of nearly half the city’s buses and six out of 16 tram lines. Night and weekend services will also be slashed.
He argues that the capital has already boosted efficiency in its public transport services and cuts are the only option remaining.
‘Amsterdam is a growth region. Half of the city’s working population use buses and trams at rush hour, and that is the way it should be because we can’t have any more cars,’ Wiebes says in the Telegraaf.
The minister argues that contracting out bus and tram services will make the cuts unnecessary.
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