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Dutch News
Better public transport needed 2/26/2007
23 February 2007

AMSTERDAM – The Green Left party GroenLinks wants the right to public transportation to be anchored in the law.

The government should guarantee a minimum supply of bus, tram and metro transport. Everyone should have access to at least one route each hour and a bus stop (or other transport) within walking distance of their home. This was contained in a proposed bill the party submitted in Parliament on Friday.

GroenLinks complained about the deterioration in the quality of city and regional transport. “In five years’ time 1,340 stops have been scrapped, and the network of regular bus service has been reduced by 1,500 kilometres.” The number of bus passengers in the countryside has fallen by 44 percent over the past ten years. This is primarily affecting the mobility of the elderly without cars, these people are in danger of becoming isolated, says MP Wijnand Duyvendak.

The proposed bill is derived from a Flemish law on basic mobility from 2001. Since that law was introduced the number of passengers using Flemish city and regional transport has doubled. Duyvendak acknowledges that this growth is also partly due to the fact that public transport is free in many places in Flanders, “but the growth is mainly due to the increase in the services offered. Passengers can count on it.”

GroenLinks says that the positive effects of the law will be mainly noticeable outside the large cities. It wants to set a maximum walking distance of 750 m between homes and transport stops, and a minimum of two routes an hour during the rush hour in thinly populated areas.

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