The coronavirus has put severe pressure on the public transport companies in the Netherlands. As a result, OV-NL has announced that they will be cutting 10% of the existing time table.
The number of people travelling dropped tremendously this year, hitting the finances of OV-NL hard, reports RTL Nieuws. During the first wave, 80-90% of passengers had disappeared, and currently 35-40% are staying away from public transport.
“We get 1.5 billion in compensation from the government, but we are still making a loss of 500 million euros,” chairman of OV-NL Pedro Peters says. “Corona makes it a worthless year. We have to compensate for that by cutting our timetable.”
Where will there be cuts?
The effect on timetables around the country will not be the same in all places. “How much less public transport there is differs per province. But nationally it is on average 10 percent less,” Peters explained. This will include busses, trams and trains.
For example, the bus from Nieuw-Vennep to the heart of Amsterdam via Schiphol currently runs 12 times an hour. This will be cut to eight. The metro on the North/South line in Amsterdam will run six times an hour instead of eight.
Regardless of how the corona pandemic goes, OV-NL will maintain these cuts until at least July 1, 2020 in order to recover financially.
What does this mean for travellers?
Peters emphasised that only the frequency of public transport will be decreased, and no routes will be cut except for a few night busses which have already been cancelled for some time. But of course, a lower frequcency means passengers may have “to wait longer for their train or bus on some routes,” says Peters.
Peters expressed that travellers generally behave well and follow the corona measures whilst using public transport. “There is a small group of people who ruin it for the rest. Every now and then there are incidents with, for example, travelers who do not want to wear a mouth mask.”
Conductors and Boas are especially strict with the mouth mask rule, which has been mandatory on public transport since June. “Every week we hand out hundreds of fines for people who don’t wear face masks.” The fine for not wearing a mask on public transport is €95.
Will the cuts in public transport affect you? And how will this impact corona safety? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.