One in two bus users complains to De Lijn: “The bus simply passes children by because it is too full” | Domestic

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One in two bus users thinks De Lijn’s new mobility plan is downright bad. This is evident from the latest Family Barometer. “Sometimes the bus doesn’t even show up anymore and almost one in five children regularly passes by the bus because it is too full,” says Jeroen Sleurs, general director of the Gezinsbond. De Lijn still receives almost 300 complaints every week.

On January 6, De Lijn’s new timetable came into effect in many places in Flanders. Nearly 3,000 bus stops disappeared and more bus and tram connections were deployed in busy places. In places where there are fewer buses since then, people have to request a ride themselves with the flex bus, which replaces the well-known call bus. Fierce criticism immediately followed. “Commuters spend hours on the road because they first have to go to the edge of the city for a stop,” says Kees Smilde, spokesperson for TreinTramBus. “There are people who now have to call a flex bus every day. And direct buses of 20 minutes sometimes take twice as long.”

TreinTramBus received more than 400 complaints in four months. “That is a lot for an organization like ours,” Smilde continues. At De Lijn itself there are still about 300 complaints per week. “The peak was clearly there in the first week of January and is now much less, but the problems remain.” According to the interest group, the most poignant stories come from the regions of Ghent, Limburg and West Flanders.

The main aim of the updated bus offering was to attract new travelers by focusing more on the major traffic routes, but the impact on loyal bus users was also significant. And this is now also evident from the latest Family Barometer, a survey conducted among approximately 1,072 families with children between 0 and 18 years old.

“We hope that the Family Barometer can be the signal for a better mobility story”

Jeroen Sleurs, Family Association

Jeroen Sleurs, general manager of Gezinsbond. © Thomas De Boever

Too full

The Family Association has specifically added a mobility section and surveyed 351 bus users. The results show that barely one in ten respondents thinks De Lijn’s new scheme is an improvement. But for 47 percent, almost half, the new arrangement is simply a step backwards. “Sometimes the bus doesn’t even show up anymore,” says Jeroen Sleurs, general director of the Gezinsbond. “And almost one in five children regularly miss the bus because it is too full,” says Sleurs. And you should know: one in four young people takes the bus to school every day. The waiting time and travel frequency are also rated as poor to very poor by almost half of the respondents. “We hope that the Family Barometer can be the signal for a better mobility story,” Sleurs concludes.

In a response, De Lijn said that it is still too early to draw any major conclusions. “The expected effects are not noticeable everywhere and that is why we are still conducting further analyses, including on the ground,” it said. “By collecting all this information, we have already made more than 200 adjustments, often to school runs to provide extra capacity and to better align the timetable with school hours.” In addition, De Lijn has noted that there are more travelers in regions where the bus service has been strengthened. “On average, this is an increase in travelers of 6.5 percent. And from April 15, coaches will also be used in certain regions to provide reinforcement for school runs during rush hour,” said De Lijn.

WATCH ALSO. Travelers protest against services provided by De Lijn

In addition to De Lijn’s new transport plan, the Gezinsbond also asked about safe cycling routes, experiences with the train, shared mobility and kilometer tax. The most important results at a glance:

The car remains by far the favorite means of transport for families. Only 6 percent of families regularly use the train for family travel. Families still rate the train as too expensive (54 percent).

8 in ten families own at least one personal car, 32 percent have a company car and 40 percent also have at least one electric bicycle at home.

More than half of families (55 percent) are in favor of the introduction of a kilometer charge.

15 percent of families already use shared mobility (shared bicycle, shared car or shared scooter).

One in two young people say there are no cycle paths on their route to school.

Nine out of ten cycling children under the age of 10 have an accompanying adult with them on the way to school. Once they reach the age of 13, they usually cycle independently.

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The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: bus users complains Lijn bus simply passes children full Domestic

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