Flemish transport minister: ‘Deregulation of public transport in the Netherlands isn't working’

5 May 2006

Flemish transport minister: ‘Deregulation of public transport in the Netherlands isn't working’

According to Kathleen van Brempt, Minister for Mobility for the autonomous government of Flanders, Belgium's Dutch-speaking region and home to 60% of its population, the results in the Netherlands of so-called “market-working” or deregulation of public transport have been disastrous. She takes the Netherlands’ authorities to task for lacking both courage and any regard for the social importance of public transport. SP Member of Parliament Arda Gerkens shares this opinion: “A transport minister with guts and a real vision of public transport is just what we could use here in the Netherlands,” she said. “The successful growth of Flemish public transport is something which we could achieve here too.”

Flemish minister Ms van Brempt’s pronouncements in the May edition of the trade paper ‘Verkeerskunde’ (‘Transport Know-how’) dismissed the Netherlands’ transport policies, calling plans to charge motorists per kilometre travelled “unfair”. The lack of a good alternative due to the run-down of public transport throughout the country forces people to use their cars and to pay through the nose. By investing in public transport it's possible to get traffic moving again. In Flanders, the number of kilometres travelled per inhabitant has stopped growing, while the use of urban and regional public transport has doubled in the last ten years.

Arda Gerkens“Flanders demonstrates that an active government policy can prevent national gridlock,” Gerkens said. “In the Netherlands Transport Minister Karla Peijs looks only at the costs of public transport, and hardly at all at the opportunities it brings. I have also asked her if she will look at Flanders and get to work on this with the same ambition and courage as have the Flemish authorities instead of just giving up.”

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