De Lijn unions threaten four-day strike

Summary

A busy week for De Lijn: A new digital payment method is launched, but unions threaten a four-day strike

Protest against restructuring

Unions associated with Flemish public transport authority De Lijn have announced an intention to strike from 17 to 20 May. The strike will affect all De Lijn trams and buses across Flanders and in Brussels.

Unions are protesting at a planned restructuring, which will see the loss of nearly 300 jobs. The jobs would affect management and administrative staff and would mean a reduction of the workforce by 16%.

The reform would also eliminate the five provincial De Lijn headquarters, with much of the workload being transferred to the headquarters in Mechelen. That would mean workers would have to travel to Mechelen to work.

Talks will continue, but “if nothing changes, the strike goes through," said a union spokesperson.

In better news for travellers: De Lijn has launched an electronic version of the Line Card, which offers 10 rides for €16. This is a card bought by passengers who only used De Lijn occasionally. As this option is not yet available on De Lijn’s Mobib card, only a paper card was available that had to be validated.

The new electronic version of the card, called m-card10, is a smartphone app for Android and iPhone. It’s cheaper, too: users pay just €15 in advance for 10 rides.

De Lijn

De Lijn is Flanders’ public transportation system for city and regional travel. It operates bus and tram services across Flanders and parts of Brussels.
Belbus - De Lijn offers a taxi-meets-bus service in sparsely populated areas with its Belbus (Call bus). The Belbus only rides when a user requests it.
Kusttram - De Lijn operates the longest tramline in the world on the Belgian coast. Connecting Knokke in the north all the way to De Panne near the French border, the Coast Tram is the staple means of transportation along the coast.
Stakeholders - Three-quarters of Flemish municipalities are De Lijn stakeholders. Their shares don’t have any monetary value but do earn them a vote in the company’s annual general meeting.
1 990

De Lijn founded

93

largest-ever De Lijn investment in million euros

554

million passenger rides in 2012