Public transit service cuts expected next year
The nine companies that provide public transport in the Netherlands expect significant cuts to their services for next year. The coronavirus brought a decline in income for the transporters and they need to cut costs, NRC reports.
The first lockdown brought a sharp drop in the number of travelers in the second quarter of this year. By August, traveler numbers returned to around 50 percent of what is usual for the time of year. The partial lockdown implemented by the government on October 13 brought this figure back down to 40 percent.
Government support packages are covering around 93 percent of public transit companies' costs to continue operating their timetable. That reimbursement scheme is running until July 2021. The public transit companies are currently in talks with municipalities and provinces about how much they can cut in their timetables to reduce costs for the part the government is not covering, and for the second half of next year, NRC reported after speaking to the companies involved.
According to the newspaper, discussions are still ongoing and nothing is set in stone yet. But it is clear that the public transit companies are doing their best not to scrap routes completely. Extra transport during rush hour is being cut by many transporters. Night travel is being discontinued by at least NS and the GVB in Amsterdam. And the frequency of transport on the main lines is being reduced.
The transport companies also complained about high absenteeism, according to the newspaper. Many employees are at home, waiting for the results of their coronavirus test. The transit companies blame this on the government's coronavirus notification app CoronaMelder, according to NRC. They say that drivers and conductors get notifications about being in contact with an infected person, while they were protected by screens and socially distanced from passengers.