Monday 24 February 2020

On yer bike! Free public transport for kids idea derailed by cycling advocates

Give way! Free trams for school kids scrapped for bikes  Photo: Depositphotos.com

Plans to give primary school children free bus and tram travel on Wednesday afternoons and weekends have been scrapped after Amsterdam councillors said they would rather promote cycling.

A council meeting on Thursday voted to divert money earmarked for the plan into helping families buy bicycles, reports AT5.

Jan-Bert Vroege, a D66 liberal democrat councillor, proposed the motion, arguing that many Amsterdammers never cycle, especially if their parents are not cyclists either. He noted that there was broad support from different parties for his argument.

The original idea was part of a set of city proposals last year aimed towards making the Dutch capital car-free to ‘make more space for cyclists, pedestrians and playing children.’

Free bus and tram transport on school-free times, the city hoped, would encourage more people to make use of the city’s ‘valuable public transport network.’

According to AT5, however, many people doubted whether such a measure would reduce cars in the city, pointing out that it would have little effect on traffic related to school drop-offs and pick-ups. But others, such as SP councillor Erik Flentge, doubted whether stopping the free public transport would have much effect on ‘strengthening cycling culture’, adding that this would be hard to measure in any case.

Seven parties voted against the proposal.

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