De Lijn is asking to be allowed to temporarily reduce its supply because the transport company cannot always reliably meet the promised supply due to problems with materials and personnel. Director General of De Lijn Ann Schoubs said this in the Flemish Parliament.
As soon as the capacity problems have been addressed, supply can increase again, according to Schoubs. But according to Schoubs, an additional 100 million euros are needed annually to get the fleet and infrastructure in order.
Recently there was a head-on collision between the CEO of De Lijn and guardian minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD). After Schoubs criticized the underfunding of De Lijn in a newspaper interview and also used the word “rotten strategy”, the minister responded that De Lijn had to stop “complaining and complaining” and that they had to work on creative solutions instead of “to cry in the newspaper”.
During a hearing in the Flemish Parliament, Schoubs acknowledged that the public service contract (ODC) that De Lijn has concluded with the minister for the period 2023-2027 provides for a “turnaround” in financing, but that this “catch-up” is not entirely sufficient to cover all to absorb past savings and at the same time respond to accelerated renewal and greening of public transport.
Schoubs again raised the problem of the outdated fleet and infrastructure. The current government has increased investments to 270 million euros per year. But according to Schoubs, 370 million euros would be needed annually to keep the buses, trams and tracks at a healthy level and to ensure the necessary innovation and greening.
According to Schoubs, the outdated fleet and infrastructure also have an impact on services. “Trams have to run slower because the tracks are outdated, older buses are more susceptible to breakdowns, maintenance costs are higher and an old bus also offers less comfort,” Schoubs points out.
Add to that other problems, such as the shortage of drivers, and you know that De Lijn cannot always offer the range and service it promises. That is also why Schoubs suggests that we may – temporarily – cut back on supply. “The gap between available capacity and what we promise is too big. That is why we at De Lijn are asking for the offer to be scaled down to a level that we can effectively offer what we promise,” says Schoubs. As soon as capacity is restored, supply could be increased again.
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