Reservation app considered to prevent crowds in public transit

Passengers board a Brussels-bound train at Amsterdam Centraal, 9 May 2018
Passengers board a Brussels-bound train at Amsterdam Centraal, 9 May 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

The government is considering a reservation app to prevent buses, trains and subways from becoming too crowded once the number of travelers and commuters start to pick up again. The app must help ensure that everyone using public transit can keep 1.5 meters apart, NRC reports.

A working group from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is currently planning out how this app should work. They want to give priority to certain groups, like people with crucial professions. And they're also considering special travel times for vulnerable groups, and a ban on travel that is not absolutely necessary, according to the newspaper. 

The most difficult part of this app will be enforcement, those involved expect. At large stations, travelers with no reservation can relatively easily be shown away at the gates. But that is more difficult at small stations and bus stops.

The number of travelers is not expected to increase much due to primary schools reopening after the May holidays, but this will start happening once more measures against the coronavirus are relaxed. With the guideline of keeping 1.5 meters apart, buses, trains, subways and trams will have to be much emptier than usual. Pedro Peters of OVNL previously estimated that only about a quarter of public transit capacity can be used. 

Peters stressed that enforcement of this kind is a government task. "You can already see that the grumpiness among passengers is increasing," he said to the newspaper. "If you are going to keep passengers out, you cannot leave that to the personnel of the transport companies."