Extra funding for public transport in Amsterdam were London is asking for a bail-out

Recently the regional Transport Council for Amsterdam (The Netherlands) announced extra funding of public transport. The Amsterdam region is making an extra 235 million euros available for public transport. On the other hand Transport for London has requested a support package of up to 5.7 billion pound or 6.3 billion euros to keep public transport running or TfL will have to shut down services as media in the UK are reporting.

For Amsterdam the Transport Region sees the corona crisis as a unique opportunity to implement necessary changes to make mobility in the region future-proof. This so-called "corona package" of 235 million euros consists of 30 million euros for investments in infrastructure (for 2021) and 205 million euros for sustainability, inclusivity and rush hour avoidance (2021 and beyond). A large part of this will go to the transition to completely emission-free bus transport. This package, which has been presented to the regional council, is in addition to the regular investments in mobility of approximately 130 million euros per year. These extra millions of euros serve to reshape mobility in the region after the corona crisis, make public transport attractive again and stimulate the economy. This is done by investing in road safety and public transport projects, zero emission buses and traveling outside of rush hour.

London corona damage

London mayor Sadiq Khan called for a £ 5.7 billion (€ 6.3 billion) bailout for London's public transport system to repair the corona damage. Transport for London (TfL) will need this money for the next 18 months to keep London running. Khan, who is a member of the Labor Party, has accused the Conservative government of removing London from some of its recent budget proposals because the government wants to reduce disparities between regions. Conservative members of the House of Commons did indicate that the government would probably approve most of the money requested by TfL, but that there would be strict conditions attached to it. As were the conditions attached to the earlier £ 1.6 billion (€ 1.77 billion) bailout in May, which was designed to help TfL through mid-October. Ticket revenue in the London metro has fallen by about 90 percent as a result of the corona measures. Khan's plans stated that the cuts in central government TfL subsidies in recent years have made TfL more dependent on ticket sales than any other major transportation authority in the world. When he took office in 2016, Khan froze the (relatively high) public transport fares for several years to promote the use of London's public transport.

Amsterdam unique opportunity

The Transport Region Amsterdam marks the corona crisis as an opportunity to implement necessary changes to make mobility in the Amsterdam region future-proof. “Tackling the immense crowds in the hyper-rush, really making the move towards emission-free transport, tackling dangerous points. The ideas were there, but the time now requires action and countercyclical investments that will give the accessibility of the region the quality leap it deserves”, says Sharon Dijksma, chairman of the Transport Region.

The Transport Region is investing in all concession areas in zero emission buses and associated charging infrastructure. In the capital, for example, the new series of buses from GVB will be fully funded and electricity grid connections will be provided. The intention is that all buses in the Netherlands will be emission-free by 2030. As an intermediate step, the Transport Region is aiming for 95 percent emission-free public transport by 2025. Currently, approximately 20 percent of public transport in the Amsterdam region runs on green electricity or hydrogen.

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