Robin for example
Robin for example
Provinces are very concerned about accessibility and therefore quality of life, especially in sparsely populated areas. They reported this to NOS in response to staff shortages in urban and regional transport, which has prompted carriers to regularly cancel flights. “If there are further cuts, there will be little public transport left in the province,” says Harry van der Maas, an MP in Zeeland.
In the worst case, “performance is an option” for Zealand, because carriers must adhere to special performance agreements. However, van der Maas emphasizes that this is not yet the case. “Connexxion indicated that it is doing its best to provide travelers with good alternatives.”
Drenthe fears “transport poverty in certain areas” if public transport is reduced below the basic level. A county spokesperson said the county wants the bus to make at least two stops per hour in all areas between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and once every hour after 7 p.m. “Until recently, this was still possible through additional funding by the provinces, but our financial limit has been reached.” The spokesman confirmed that after the Corona crisis, the financial situation of the regional carrier was also affected.
Measures to reduce staff shortages in Drenthe “have not achieved the desired result” in recent months. “Due to staff shortages, a fair number of bus trips have been canceled and the reliability of the service has decreased.”
Facilities are under pressure
There are also concerns about accessibility in other northern counties if bus and train timetables are not adhered to. Although the spokesman for the province of Friesland confirms that all villages can be reached “by some form of public transport” even in the current situation, there does not seem to be much room for improvement. “Access to work, school and amenities may be stressed.”
The province of Groningen notes that there is more going on than just staff shortages at Areva, for example. Due to work from home introduced during the Corona period, everyone still does not use public transportation every day. Because of this lost revenue, the district also believes the timeline should be reduced.
North Holland is also concerned about regional transport. But enforcement is not an option, says MP spokesman Jeroen Olthof. “That’s hard when the drivers aren’t really there.” This is why North Holland is forced to look for solutions with transport companies, both in the short and long term.
In North Holland, for example, requirements for new drivers may be slightly lowered. “In our franchises, English-speaking drivers are now allowed, and we are looking at solutions with smaller buses in places where fewer passengers are boarding.” In order to continue to get North Holland residents from point A to point B “at a reasonable cost,” all options are on the table for the province. According to Olthof, public transportation must be looked at differently: “Because if we continue as we are doing now, nothing will change and things will continue to deteriorate.”
Stop the taxi
Also in Zealand, due to staffing problems in public transport, the traditional bus is no longer sacrosanct. For this reason, a taxi service was introduced, where visits stop at times and days when the bus or train is not running or does not run hourly.
However, the county carrier Connexxion must clearly indicate cancellations and substitutions: “either physically or digitally: in trip planners, on the website, on buses and at stations.” Zealand monitors how this goes through a special reporting point.
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