Pandemic resulting in fewer buses; Some routes to be scrapped
Despite coronavirus support from the national government, public transport companies are struggling under the consequences of the pandemic and the work-from-home advice that came with it. Fewer passengers mean less income, forcing provinces and transport companies to cut schedules for city and regional buses, Trouw reports.
From next year, buses will make less frequent stops throughout the country. Some routes will be scrapped altogether. The exact extent of these cutbacks are not yet clear. But provinces are aiming to keep it limited to 10 percent fewer buses than before the pandemic, according to the newspaper.
This will affect dozens of bus lines, mainly in the smaller municipalities. For example, in some places buses may no longer run every hour, but only during rush hour. The bus line between some municipalities, such as Gennep and Cuijk, may be scrapped completely. There will also be considerably fewer buses in the cities of Tilburg, Eindhoven, and Leeuwarden, Trouw wrote based on recently published plans.
To keep the Netherlands as accessible as possible public transport wise, the government set up a scheme to pay up to 95 percent of public transport companies' deficits. That scheme was recently extended until September 2022. An amount of 1.5 billion euros is reserved for this support measure in 2021, and a further 240 million for next year.
The extension of the support measure was meant to give transport companies some breathing room. Though Arriva told Trouw that it changes nothing in its plans to reduce the number of buses. Keolis and the province of Overijssel said that the extended support meant that they could delete "the black scenario" of 20 percent fewer buses.
The final bus schedules for next year will be published sometime in the autumn.