There will be no more postponement in putting public transport in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam out to tender, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told parliament on Monday evening.
The privatisation plan was due to be implemented in 2012 but was postponed earlier until 2013. Transport unions and the Socialist, Labour and Green parties had asked for a further six months delay. Schultz van Haegen has refused their request.
According to the minister, privatisation will make transport in the three cities more efficient and save the government money. Opponents say her figures do not add up and the transport systems will be devastated. They want more time to look into alternatives.
Schultz van Haegen told parliament she wants to press ahead because political cooperation on the subject is ‘fragile’. She was referring to the government’s alliance partner, the PVV, which was originally against privatisation.
She also said she is receiving signs from the three cities that the start date of January 1 2013 will be met. ‘If it later proves not to be the case, I will look at it again, but then a parliamentary majority will be necessary,’ Trouw quotes her as saying.
Transport unions are to continue their actions against the plan with free travel on December 5 and another 24-hour strike in the week of December 12.
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