Public transit companies worried about mass layoffs

Public transport companies are facing serious financial troubles due to the coronavirus crisis and worry that this will eventually have to translate into layoffs. NS expects it will have to cut around 2 thousand jobs, and the regional transporters hundreds more on top of it, according to sector organization OV-NL, NOS reports.

"We are currently at about half the number of travelers we had before corona," OV-NL chairman Pedro Peters said to the broadcaster. "The government called: avoid public transport. We really had to travel with it only for the most necessary trips. People listened to that incredibly well. We dropped back to only 10 percent of the number of travelers we had. We are now back at 50 percent, so things are slowly going in the right direction, but we are nowhere near 100 percent."

OV-NL expects that by the end of the year, passenger numbers will be at around 70 percent at most, which means that the transit companies will still be losing out on 30 percent of their income. For the rest of the year, public transport is being supported with a compensation package wort around 1.5 billion euros, Peters said. "But yes, in January, this problem won't be solved yet."

The public transit companies will be meeting with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management next week. "We want to have clarity before Budget Day about how we will continue in the new year."