Public transit strike: Schiphol CEO spent night at airport

Cyclists using the IJtunnel to get from Amsterdam Noord to Centrum, 28 May 2019
Cyclists using the IJtunnel to get from Amsterdam Noord to Centrum, 28 May 2019. (Photo: NL Times)

Due to a nationwide public transit strike in the Netherlands on Tuesday, Dutch had to make alternative arrangements to get to work, school or university. Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop decided to spend the night at the airport, instead of risking not being able to reach it on Tuesday. 

"I didn't want to risk being late", he said to NU.nl on Tuesday morning. So far he is satisfied with how the airport is handling the public transit strike. "Everything is flowing and the crowds are manageable", he said to the newspaper. "But I'm getting continuous updates from the team."

Schiphol filed summary proceedings that ended with a court ordering the unions to allow trains to run from Schiphol to Amsterdam Central Station during the strike. The four rains per hour is much less than usual, but at least travelers can flow in and out of the airport. "For us it was not about the strike or the inconvenience", Benschop stressed. "But really for safety's sake. We didn't want chaotic situations if thousands of people arrived here per hour who couldn't get away."

As Amsterdam's ferry service forms part of the strike, the city decided to open the IJtunnel to bicycles and close it to car traffic on Tuesday. Many dozens of cyclists made use of the tunnel to get from Amsterdam Noord to Centrum, or the other way around. The novelty of cycling through the tunnel may also pay a role in the popularity of this route on Tuesday morning.

Social media is also buzzing with people arranging carpool rides, using various hashtags.

Many universities and schools canceled exams on Tuesday due to the strike, but that is not the case for all education institutions. Students of Rotterdam art school Codarts spent the night at the school. They have an important rehearsal today and did not want to risk missing it. They were woken by an reporter from RTV Rijnmond on Tuesday morning:

The strike led to a busier-than-usual morning rush hour, but nothing extreme, according to public works department Rijkswaterstaat's traffic information service. Traffic peaked at 328 kilometers of traffic jams on Dutch highways at around 8:30 a.m., Rijkswaterstaat reported. According to the service, that is not unusual for a rainy Tuesday morning. On all Dutch roads there were nearly 700 kilometers of traffic jams at rush hour's peak, according to travelers' association ANWB. 

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