Flemish public transport company De Lijn refuses the city of Ghent’s request to no longer remove bus stops. De Lijn counters that by saying it is adapting its bus network to the principles of ‘basic accessibility’ and that stops can disappear and be added elsewhere.
“The idea is to strengthen public transport where demand is high, on busy axes,” argues De Lijn. “Our service can be rearranged where demand is much lower. By improving routes, we can increase the speed and reliability of the bus lines.”
“The sudden removal of bus stops puts many users of public transport in difficulties and undermines support for public transport,” says Filip Watteeuw, Ghent Alderman for Mobility (Groen).
Meanwhile, De Lijn’s reorganization leads to complaints about overcrowded buses and canceled stops, especially in the municipalities of Drongen and Sint-Amandsberg.
Regional transport council
De Lijn states that a call-up bus service will be provided in the vicinity of canceled stops, that the implementation will take place in phases, and that evaluations will follow.
De Lijn also argues that the plans have been drawn up in consultation with local authorities. The regional transport council, in which the Ghent city council is represented, has approved the new transport plan for the entire region.
“The regional transport council has indeed expressed numerous reservations, but in the end, De Lijn only drew up the new transport plan. It’s rude how De Lijn now unjustly hides behind the regional transport councils,” concludes Watteeuw.
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