For the period 2023-2026, more than 2,000 additional trains per week are to be operated. This is stated in the new transport plan of the railway company NMBS, Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinnett (Ecolo) announced in the room.
This afternoon, the Parliamentary Mobility Committee discussed the new transport plan of the National Bureau of Statistics. The plan should make services more efficient and improve train punctuality. Last weekend, Le Soir wrote that some rush-hour trains (or P-trains) and about two dozen stations would get killed because of it.
But according to Minister Gilkinet, this is not a good idea. “The economic benefits provided by NMBS appear to be minimal, if not anecdotal, especially when compared to the negative impact of travelers who can no longer take the train from the nearest station, especially in the countryside.” In any case, he said, “the government has the final say here.”
Subsequent trains are on Friday and Saturday
The contract the government negotiated with NMBS stated that more trains would be used, both in earlier and later times. This measure should ensure that the number of passengers will gradually increase by 30 percent. According to Gilkennet, more than 2,000 additional trains will be added on a weekly basis. The minister also stated that frequency will be increased at 175 stations and trains at 119 stations will run later on Friday and Saturday.
The plan will be presented to the NMBS board of directors on Friday. And then it will be put on the agenda of the Cabinet, it seems.
Joris Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) lamented that Gilkinet was not open to the prospect of canceling the stops. “Small stations without alternatives should remain open, but we owe it to travelers to know if that applies to every small station,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m afraid there is a chance that the targets for the 10 percent extra supply and the 30 percent extra passengers will be far away rather than closer.”
According to Thomas Rogemann (N-VA), the minister’s inaction “is significant because there is no sense of fiscal urgency.”
Jef Van den Bergh (CD&V) emphasized that the ongoing problems with the train connection between Antwerp and Brussels must first be resolved before the new transport plan can be implemented.
Mobility Minister Gilkinet is against closing 20 NMBS stations
Earlier and later trains, up to 40% cheaper travel during peak hours and a big discount if you travel in a group of 4: this will change on the train (+)
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