Private transport groups worried by tie-up between NS and The Hague bus firm
Commercial transport companies are unhappy with the agreement between Dutch rail (NS) and The Hague public transport company HTM and want a change in the law, according to media reports on Tuesday.
State-owned NS intends to buy a 49% interest in city council-owned HTM and commercial companies Veolia, Arriva, Connexxion and Syntus are afraid it will also want an interest in the public transport companies of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Some reports say Amsterdam and Rotterdam have already approached the NS about a potential partnership.
At the moment, there is nothing they can do to stop this happening and they are asking for a change in the law, the Financieele Dagblad reports.
The senate will vote later on Tuesday on a law saying large cities no longer have to put their public transport out to tender, but can do so if they wish. The four commercial companies want that law changed to force cities to put public transport out to tender.
The commercial companies are worried the NS will become too powerful, but corporate finance professor Kees Cools told the FD the two percentage points between the NS and HTM makes a big difference.
‘The Hague council retains a 51% interest in HTM and that is of paramount importance,’ he told the paper.
The current caretaker government wanted public transport in the big cities put out to tender but agreed the new law with its opt-in clause following a series of strikes earlier this year.
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