GroenLinks and PvdA launch scheme for free public transport


Public transport should be cheaper for everyone and completely free for low income groups, opposition MPs from GroenLinks and the PvdA said on Monday.

The two parties have drawn up a €400 million scheme, called ‘Iedereen instappen’ (All aboard), which they say would be financed by a hike in wealth taxes and higher taxes for businesses.

The parties, which are running a joint candidate list in this year’s provincial elections, say transport inequality has increased because the price of bus and train tickets has gone up but petrol prices have been subsidised.

MPs Habtamu de Hoop (PvdA) and Kauthar Bouchallikht (GroenLinks), both public transport users, said they are seeing a poorer public transport service following the pandemic, with fewer regional and urban bus services. ‘We must stop thinking in terms of profit,’ De Hoop told the AD. ‘Public transport needs to be more of a public service.’

Public transport is a basic right, not something that is primarily intended to make money, Bouchallikht said. ‘There are groups that depend on public transport. People in wheelchairs and visually impaired people are too often forgotten.’

The parties also want to introduce an accessibility limit, meaning people should be able to reach their school, supermarket or hospital within 45 minutes. If not, the council must give them a taxi voucher. The bill for the vouchers would go to the infrastructure ministry.

The two parties are proposing a trial period of a year. If the plan proves successful, public transport for low income groups could be made free, the MPs said.

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