The Flanders region’s “Basisbereikbaarheid” (basic accessibility) plan is set to start major public transport reform in the month of January 2023. It was first conceived in 2015 and has been delayed twice since 2021.
The reforms should see a rise in the availability of public transport in the four “levels” of the region, including the rail network, ‘core’ network, complementary network, as well as tailor-made transport, according to the reports.
Moreover, one of the goals of the reforms will be also to use private taxis as well as bus services to bridge gaps in the network and introduce a new regional smartphone application.
The minister explained at a press conference in Brussels that she had changed her mind about the pace of the reforms, opting to introduce the reforms gradually. “We need to start a phased roll-out as soon as possible, starting from the existing transport offer and current transport companies and developing flexible transport,” Peeters mentioned in the statement.
Along with this, the role of De Lijn is set to be significantly expanded. Under its administration, the Flanders region will place several “layers” of transport management under a four-year contract. A new call centre, responsible for booking, planning, as well as paying for public transport, will be made operational from the end of 2022 in areas where De Lijn offers dial-a-ride buses.
The Flemish government is set to begin a communication campaign in September to make the public aware of the upcoming changes before the first reforms appear next January.