Friday 26 February 2021

Electric wagon firm blames government delays for looming bankruptcy

Stints used to carry children to school. Photo: Stintum.nl

The company which makes the Stint electric wagon, which was used by hundreds of Dutch daycare companies to ferry children around, is on the verge of going bust, RTL News said on Monday.

Stints have been banned from the road since one was involved in an accident at a railway crossing at Oss in 2018, in which four children aged four to eight were killed.

Even though an investigation by the forensic institute NFI found nothing to indicate why the vehicle’s brakes apparently failed, causing it to collide with an oncoming train, the wagons have still not been cleared to return to the road.

Now the company has fired all 19 workers and is ‘financially finished’, founder Edwin Renzen told broadcaster RTL Nieuws.

‘We have done all we were asked to do and have jumped through every hoop,’ Renzen said. ‘We should have been back on the road before the summer because of positive reports from the vehicle licencing authority and the TNO research institute. I don’t understand why it has not happened. It is down to politics.

A spokesman for transport minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said that it was indeed taking a long time for the final green light. However, it had been agreed with MPs that the decision-making process would be gone through carefully and that ‘traffic safety had priority over speed and innovation,’ the spokesman said.

Some 3,000 stints were in use in the Netherlands before the accident, and 1,500 new versions are currently in storage at the company’s factory in Nijkerk.

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