Future NMBS/SNCB transport plan: supply up by almost 5%
The Belgian federal government approved NMBS/SNCB’s future transport plan for the period of December 2020 to December 2030. This took place during an electronic Council of Ministers. According to Minister of Mobility François Bellot (MR), the transport plan provides for “the phased roll-out of 25 additional projects”, and an increase in the number of train kilometers or supply by 4,7%.
The MR minister does not say exactly what these 25 projects are, but according to him, the intention is to increase the number of train kilometers by 4,7%. That is an increase of 3,77 million train kilometers. According to Bellot, the new transport plan should “increase customer satisfaction through better frequency” and “reliable connections”.
In addition, the plan must also promote the ‘modal shift’ (potential demand) by taking into account mobility needs and help to improve the punctuality and reliability of service. Finally, the plan must also clarify the offer in a number of areas, ranging from commercial speed to the stop policy and the harmonization of equipment.
Sufficient financial resources
The socialist rail Acod Spoor/CSGP-Cheminots is cautiously reacting positively to NMBS/SNCB’s new transport plan 2020-2023. The fact that the supply will increase by 4,7% is a good thing, but this ambition “can only be realized if it is accompanied by the necessary means,” the union points out.
The rail union also stresses that the savings of three billion euros made on the railways in the last five years “had an impact on the quality of public service” and led to the loss of 4 500 jobs.
“Under these circumstances, it is absolutely essential that a social agreement is reached as soon as possible that meets the staff’s concerns in terms of work, working conditions, and welfare,” they say.
“Finally, the government will also have to show the same determination in view of the liberalization of the domestic passenger service planned for 2023. Belgium is the only European country that has not yet taken a position on this issue,” the union adds.