Tuesday 01 December 2020

Public transport firms in talks on cutting services next year

Photo: N. van der Pas

The Netherlands’ nine public transport companies expect to have to cut services in the coming year as falling passenger numbers hit finances, the NRC said on Thursday.

The newspaper spoke to all the main train and bus companies operating in the Netherlands and found all are involved in negotiations about reducing frequency, but not scrapping, some services altogether.

At the height of the first wave, passenger numbers had fallen to 10% to 15% of 2019’s figures and although that recovered over the summer, they have now sunk again with the partial lockdown.

Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB, for example, is currently moving 34% of the passengers it used to, and this is below the national average of 40%, the paper said.

Public transport firms are currently being funded by the state for up to 93% of their services, and that will continue until July 2021. However, by April 1, they must have worked out a plan for the rest of the year, when the public support stops.

This means they are in talks with local authorities and national government about overhauling services and reducing the frequency of some buses, trams and trains, the NRC said.

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