MIVB/STIB boss has no fear for the future
Even though the Brussels public transport company, MIVB/STIB, is experiencing a drastic drop in ridership as a result of the measures taken in relation to the coronavirus, this has not led to a slowdown for his CEO, Brieuc de Meeûs. Partly confined, the MIVB/STIB boss hopes to gradually emerge from crisis management to relaunch important projects in the medium term.
Most of the time, the Executive Director works from home, as do all the administrative staff. “The day starts at 8.30 a.m. with a Covid-19 meeting with all MIVB/STIB management, communication, and the internal service for prevention and protection at work,” says De Meeûs in an interview with the newspaper L’Echo.
“We take stock of the previous day’s and the day’s operations, see how many people are available to drive, and which vehicles will be able to get out. We make sure that maintenance and cleaning will be guaranteed, and review operational problems.”
It’s maintaining the distance between passengers that’s keeping the crews busy at the moment. The MIVB/STIB recently limited the number of passengers per vehicle, but the rule would not be simple to enforce.
“We have troops on the ground, and sometimes police assistance when necessary. We try to raise awareness as much as possible. But some people think they should definitely take the tram at that particular hour and the others just have to get off.”
After spending the first ten days of the crisis completely reorganizing the company, Brieuc de Meeûs hopes to gradually relaunch important projects for MIVB/STIB in the medium and long term.
“But as far as construction sites are concerned, including the metro, it’s completely at a standstill. And most of our projects will be delayed for various reasons, including supply problems. The whole supply chain is idling. Sometimes we’re stuck because parts are missing, for example, critical electronic components from China.”
Brieuc de Meeûs says that he has no fear concerning the resumption of frequentation once it has stabilized even if we don’t know when this will happen. “There was a very rapid resumption after the attacks of March 22 in 2016, because mobility is an essential need for people. In a year or two, we’ll be back on the growth curve even though we’ll have a hole for the current period,” says the electromechanical engineer who otherwise spends his time in containment with gardening, reading, and the daily consultation of aviation incident reports – another hobby of his.