Left-wing parties want free public transport for low-income earners
The PvdA and GroenLinks want to experiment with free public transport for low-income earners. They also want to reverse recent ticket price increases in their 400 million euros plan to fight “transport poverty,” parliamentarians Habtamu de Hoop (PvdA) and Kauthar Bouchallikht (GroenLinks) said to AD.
According to the left-wing parties, “transport poverty” increased because the government spent 1.2 billion euros on lowering excise duties on petrol and diesel to help motorists with the high fuel prices but allowed train and bus ticket prices to rise.
The price of bus, tram, and metro tickets rose by 7 percent, while train tickets became 4.3 percent more expensive. The Central Planning Office (CPB) calculated that it would cost 400 million euros to reverse those price increases. PvdA and GroenLinks want the Cabinet to do that and pay for it by increasing profit tax and the tax on capital.
“Public transport must be a primary basic right, not something that earns money. There are small groups that really need public transport,” Bouchallikht said. Without affordable and accessible public transport, people in wheelchairs and the visually impaired would be unable to travel independently, she said.
The parties, therefore, also want an accessibility standard of 45 minutes to be enforceable. If citizens can’t reach school, the supermarket, or the nearest hospital within 45 minutes of leaving their home, they should get a taxi voucher from their municipality. And the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management should cover those costs.
The two parliamentarians also want to experiment with free public transport for low-income earners in the cities and countryside for a year. If the results are promising, that should become permanent. Bouchallikht and De Hoop referred to an experiment in Germany with a train ticket that costs only 9 euros per month. The run on that ticket surprised everyone, and the government increased the price to 49 euros.
“You saw how important that ticket was considered in Germany. Start with low-income people who need that support,” De Hoop said.
“We say: it costs money, but it should be worth it to society if everyone can participate,” said Bouchallikht.