The Eindhoven bus service is in trouble.
That’s Brabant’s provincial government’s opinion. That’s now that the national government might no longer be willing to reimburse much of public transport costs. This could come into effect later this year.
According to the provincial manager, Christophe van der Maat, there are already eight per cent fewer buses in the Eindhoven region. That’s because the central government no longer carries much of the costs. He says the ministry wants to reduce the budget even further in October.
“It concerns millions of euros. The bus timetable will then be reduced by as much as 20%. That means one in five bus trips will be cancelled.”
The province is, therefore, sounding the alarm. Public transportation in Brabant has been struggling for a year now. There have been substantial deficits.
That’s due to the corona crisis. Only financial support on a national level can compensate for the loss of income. That’s according to Van der Maat.
He expects that if nothing is done, bus companies will raise fares. There will probably also be no more evening buses. Many lines will no longer be served either.
The cuts would also force Hermes and other bus companies to lay off employees. “Ten per cent fewer rides is really the limit. That’s already bad,” says the Provincial Manager.
“It will be a set-back. But we’re working toward a new basic timetable in Brabant. Passenger numbers start to pick again at some point.”
“Then we’ll be able to continue without support from the central government. If we have to cut even more trips, we’ll end up in a downward spiral,” concludes Van der Maat. The province expects bus transportation to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in around 2025.
Editor: Melinda Walraven