Friday 10 July 2020

Public transport firms to get €1.5bn to compensate for fewer passengers

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The cabinet has set aside some €1.5bn as support for public transport companies which have seen passenger numbers tumble since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

‘We have asked public transport firms to run a full service again to help open up the economy,’ transport minister Stientje van Veldhoven said in a briefing. ‘Passenger numbers are still limited, so companies are running at a loss.’

The compensation package will account for 93% of the costs and is payable on condition the companies concerned do not pay dividends, bonuses or redundancy packages to executives.

The compensation will go to 16 public transport companies, including state-owned NS, regional and city bus firms, some of which are council owned, and the Wadden Island ferry services.

Pedro Peters of the public transport providers association OVNL said the package of measures is ‘balanced’ and will allow companies to keep providing a full service.

Train, tram and bus firms were asked to resume normal timetables from June 1, and face masks have been made compulsory on public transport since then as well.

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