Heli St. Luce

Open letter to those in Amsterdam city council who make decisions about public transport

It has been prove time after time that trying to talk to whoever is responsible for the decision making process in the GVB about the needs and desires of the general population of Amsterdam for an efficient, service oriented and friendly public transport system is pointless.
However our city taxes are part of their funding so I hope that directing this to the council and the mayor may be of more use.

Does the city have a stated desire for Amsterdam city centrer to be greener, less polluted with better air quality? How do you align that with the fact that tram lines all over the city are being cut and reduced?
Although it is not explicityly stated in this argument I want to make it clear that I am also inculding the proposed closing of numerous bus lines in the North of Amsterdam. Obviously the same arguments of cleanliness do not apply to the buses except in terms of an efficient bus route with lots of stops will make it a better option and therefore greener than individuals taking their cars.

In the past few years so many tram stops have been cancelled that in many cases it has become pointless to take the tram to specific points in the city if you are in anyway challenged. Which means that some people now have no access at all in any practical way that matters
e.g. the Agatha Dekenstr stop gave perfect access to the top part of the Ten Kate market, the J M Coenenstraat to the Apollolaan, the stop on the Ceintuurbaan to Amsteldijk. There are many more on many different lines that I could mention.

The desire to cancel the line 14 and the supposed necesity to no longer allow the tram 7 to access the Witte de Witstraat are also part of this nonsensical drive, the only point of which seems to be to get people back in their cars and the keep the elderly, less able and infirm trapped and restricted.

With regards to the supposed notion that it is danger to the the street itself that necessitates the cancellation of that part of the route of the tram 7. Those very same arguments were dismissed when it came to the North South metro line. The people who’s houses on that route are already beginning to subside are proof that safeguarding the structure of the streets is only important when the powers that be can use it to support their own arguments.
All of these cancelled stops only make distances between tram stops so much greater how is that a benefit to a public transport network? In some parts of the city the distance is so far that it is unwarranted and misleading to call it a part of a general access public transport system.

The sign of a progressive humanistic society is one that moves at a pace that accomadates it’s slowest members. In the past few years this city seems to be foccussing only on the youngest, fastest, those of shortest durantion, the tourists and the privileges.
e.g. on the museumplein there was one of the only tram stops with cover for bad weather for a large number of people. The private members of the concert gebouw has a separate tram stop built a 100 metres further away.

The covered one is the one that was cancelled, prioritising a very small section of the population so they are able to step out of their high culture entertainment for the usually short tram ride home above the rest of the people living in and travelling to the city and the museum district. There is no logic in replacing a tram stop situated in one of the most popular districts of the city from the edge of a green space to the middle of a busy road

Our taxes support GVB and it is the city councils job to make public transport more accessible, more user/city/pedestrian friendly and a better option than the car. Instead of making this choice over the last years GVB and I can only assume also coundil policy has ensured the opposite. This has to stop.

There can only be one reason for these irrational, inefficient and inhumane choices. That the trams go from one terminal to the other quicker can have only one main intention to increase the profit margin. However profit cannot be allowed to be the benchmark of success where public services and particularly public transport are concerned. Number crunching, penny pinching, time saving and stream lining are immaterial to getting people to prioritise using a safe, clean, environmentally responsible, easy, efficient and excellent way of travelling through and enjoying our beautiful city.

We need this clean, network massively accessible when I first came to live here it was. We need to bring it back and ALL those original tram lines (e.g. 6) and all the tram stops.

Heli St Luce

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