Residents of Steensel are angry, one of the two bus lines through their village is being scrapped. To express their dissatisfaction, they went to the provincial house with a protest song, banners and a ‘queen with ladies-in-waiting’. “I can no longer take a bus to the city at any time of the day that I want,” says the angry José Meijer. “We are very disappointed.”
In a playful way, the village council of Steensel wants to draw the attention of the province, the bus company and the municipality to the ‘crucial’ bus connection.
“We really think that’s crazy.”
At the moment, a bus runs from Steensel to Eindhoven four times an hour. That will soon go to twice an hour. Line 19, from Bladel to Eindhoven, continues to run through the village. But line 319 will now go around Eersel via the A67 motorway.
“That saves one minute of time, which we really think is crazy,” says Huub Ambrosius of the village council. “The bus company says it should make travelers feel more comfortable.”
But the member of the village council does not see that advantage at all. “Try to drive on the highway during rush hour, then you will lose all your time gain.” He also calls the bus connection essential for the accessibility and liveability of the village. “Now buses are already driving through because they are full. Soon there will be no bus stops at all in Steensel at busy times.”
“I think this protest is working.”
The petition for the preservation of line 319 has been signed almost a thousand times. This is adopted in the provincial government by Bart Verkade (GroenLinks) chairman of the mobility steering group. He can’t immediately take away the worries. “I will bring it to the attention of fellow Members of Parliament. It’s a seriously big problem. Because if all the inhabitants of Steensel take the car instead of the bus, the problem will be even bigger.”
Verkade has no idea whether the bus is used enough in the village. “But that doesn’t matter at all: every supply creates its new demand. You see that with roads, if we build them new there will be a traffic jam in no time. That is also with a bus, if you have a bus line it will be full in no time.”
The province determines which bus lines there are in Brabant, but the transport company can fill in the details. He can therefore determine that a bus goes around a village and not through it. “I want to change that, we need more control here in the provincial government.”
While the petition is being shared among the members of the states, the inhabitants of Steensel leave for Eindhoven by bus. They go to the transport company with their banners, the queen and the protest song. “I think this protest is working. It is not about scrapping an entire bus line, but about changing the route. And we see no added value in that at all.”