Public transport companies reduce services as commuters stay home

Dozens of tram stops will disappear. Photo:
Dozens of tram stops will disappear. Photo:

Public transport firms are planning major cuts in their services next year, as coronavirus cuts profits and keeps passengers home.

Many services face frequency cuts and some night bus services will stop altogether, public transport authority Dova said.

This year alone public transport companies have lost €500m and cabinet compensation is not covering all the losses, Dova said. Transdev, which operates buses in Zeeland and Noord-Holland will trim services by 7% next year and Arriva, Qbuzz and EBS are also reducing frequencies.

Amsterdam city tram company GVB, which is still state owned, is also planning cutbacks.

Pier Eringa, head of Transdev Nederland (Connexxion), said the timetable changes will not be enough long-term, given that more investment is needed in electric buses. ‘We needs hundreds of millions of euros,’ he told RTL Nieuws.

The problems have also led officials to halt a number of tender processes to run public transport services.

‘Coronavirus has made it clear how unhealthy the sector is,’ Eringa said. ‘We, Arriva, Keolis, EBS, have all gone crazy trying to win concessions, of which only a few could optimistically be called profitable.’

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