There was no escape on social media. Politicians from different parties put a feather in their own cap with the arrival of the second ferry between the right and left banks. Flemish Minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) remains at a loss in perception.
With the works on the pedestrian tunnel in 2022, Minister Peeters decided to use a second ferry. Instead of every half hour, there was a ferry every fifteen minutes. This was a success with almost a million passengers. Peeters underlined that it ended on April 1, 2023.
As that date approached, protests broke out. The image was put up that the minister took something from the city. From that moment on, Peeters was on the defensive.
PVDA held fun activities in diving suits and a rubber boat.
READ ALSO:PVDA itself will deploy a second (rubber) ferry across the Scheldt: “If the Flemish government doesn’t do it, we’ll do it ourselves”
N-VA Antwerp argued for its preservation. The Antwerp city council demanded a second ferry in two letters to the minister. Alderman for Mobility Koen Kennis (N-VA) set the bar high by advocating a ferry every ten minutes. During this entire debate, TV personality Tom Waes also intervened about the disappearance of the second spring: “Do you call this a service?” It became a battle between Antwerp and a non-Antwerp Flemish minister. The perfect scenario for Antwerp parties to mobilize people. A petition for a second transfer received the support of thousands of Antwerp residents.
READ ALSO:Tom Waes complains about Antwerp mobility: “Shame on you”
Peeters shrugged off responsibility. If Antwerp wanted a second ferry, the city, the Antwerp transport region or the client of Oosterweel Lantis would have to pay for it.
When the news broke of the closure of the pre-metro ducts under the Scheldt for urgent works, the ball fell squarely in the minister’s court. The Flemish government discussed the budget together and the pressure was increased from the town hall. After the budget agreement in September 2023, Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) assured De Wever that money had been found for the second ferry. Minister Peeters confirmed. And on February 1, a second ferry will sail again.
Koen Kennis (N-VA), Willem-Frederik Schiltz (Open VLD) and PVDA now hope to receive virtual pats on the back on social media for the return of the second ferry. Minister Peeters also appeared. She gave the message: “Tom Waes will also be pleased”.
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