Regional public transport services throughout the Netherlands are on strike this week, resulting in fewer busses and regional trains. Bus drivers and train personnel demand better pay and less work pressure.
There are still busses between the train station and the campus, but the schedule has been changed, resulting in fewer busses. Driver Joppe Boon (37) is one of the drivers still working. He posted a message in the Wageningen Student Plaza Facebook group to alert students to the strake. His advice: Cycle, carpool ‘or wait for me because I will continue to drive the bus.’
Boon joined the Wageningen Student Plaza group a few years ago to share information on changes in the bus schedule. ‘Students in my bus sometimes told me that they were not aware of changes that affected the number of busses. So, I thought: I have a Facebook account and could be a link between the transport company and the students. Since then, I have kept students appraised of any changes.’
‘I have been working in public transport for eight years now’, says Boon. ‘I am very happy. I know that prices are increasing, but so far, I’m okay with it. The same applies to work pressure. I work my shift and have enough time for coffee and a bathroom break. But, I have colleagues who have worked in this branch for 33 years. Perhaps when I am fifty, I will consider the pressure too great. Perhaps it doesn’t bother me so much because I am younger.’
Boon is not the only driver who will continue his work this week. ‘When I started my shift this morning, three colleagues were already working. Thus, there are busses, but fewer, and therefore the waiting time is longer. And I don’t know whether there will be any buses this evening. So, if you want to take the bus, it’s a bit of a gamble.’ At the time of publication, Resource could not get any information on the number of buses that were cancelled.
Boon is not a union member. ‘If I go on strike, I will miss five days of pay. That is something I can’t afford. Union members receive strike pay.’
The rental bikes that are available at the south side of Ede-Wageningen train station were in high demand today. Because there are fewer buses, more people opted for a rental bike, which resulted in a shortage early on in the day.