TreinTramBus denounces scrapped De Lijn bus policy

Passenger organization TreinTramBus complains about the ongoing uncertainty and lack of clarity about the number of rides De Lijn is cutting. According to TreinTramBus, the Flemish public transport company is cutting supply in some places more severely than the announced 0,75%. The organization also calls De Lijn’s communication “inferior”.

Due to a lack of drivers, roadworthy buses, and technicians, De Lijn is canceling rides in Antwerp, Ghent, Dilbeek, Kempen, Kortrijk, Limburg, and Mechelen. Across Flanders, only 0,75% of the number of rides are dropped, according to De Lijn.

Rides to schools also scrapped

It is said to be a temporary measure, an adjustment that would normally be in force until the end of the year.  But according to TreinTramBus, some regions, such as Antwerp and Mechelen, are “much harder hit”.

According to TreinTramBus, most of the rides will be cut in Mechelen. “For example, there will be a quarter fewer buses to AZ Sint-Maarten and the industrial zones. That’s a lot. Too much.”

“Sometimes, waiting times run up to an hour and a half. Moreover, school rides are also dropped, so parents don’t even know if the bus ride to their children’s school will still run.”

For example, a particular secondary education school in Sint-Job started its first day with 35% fewer pupils because none of the 17 buses were running on 1 September.  So, De Lijn is not keeping its promise that it would not cut these,” TreinTramBus says.

Inadequate information

The travelers’ organization also sharply denounces De Lijn’s communication. Travelers only find out which bus runs or not via the app. But in Antwerp, for example, according to TreinTramBus, the app does not mention that all canceled rides are not running.

“De Lijn makes it extremely difficult for travelers with ambiguous and inadequate information,” says TreinTramBus. “At the bus stop, there is no way a traveler can tell that rides have been canceled. After all, only the normal timetable hangs there,” TreinTramBus says. “Anyone requesting a full list of rides on a line’s website will simply see the deleted rides there.”

TreinTramBus speaks of “chaos”. “We understand the emergency De Lijn is facing but do not understand why De Lijn’s communication is once again so poor and confusing. Compared to our neighboring countries, Flemish urban and regional transport makes a muddle.”

Meanwhile, the Flemish government has expanded the bottleneck occupations list for non-EU citizens from 22 to 29 jobs. One of the new professions on the bottleneck list is bus driver. However, De Lijn says it will not bring drivers from outside the European Union here. “The language barrier is too big. Our drivers must speak Dutch,” says spokesperson Marco Demerling in a reaction to the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.


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