New public transport in the Drechtsteden, Molenlanden and Gorinchem region
The new public transport concession in the Drechtsteden, Molenlanden and Gorinchem region started on Sunday 9 December 2018. Qbuss drives the buses and the MerwedeLinge line in the area, commissioned by the Province of Zuid-Holland.
Floor Vermeulen, Regional Minister of the Province Zuid-Holland, visited Sliedrecht and the Alblasserwaard by bus, in the company of a number of the region’s councillors. As was done elsewhere in the region, the Province and the Municipality of Sliedrecht changed the roads during the past period to allow bus journeys to progress more smoothly. Bus stops have been replaced as well, making the waiting a lot more comfortable. Floor Vermeulen: "It is good to see how everything comes together and how the paper plans have become reality. A great start of a new public transport era for the region.”
The Province and the municipalities in the Drechtsteden and Alblasserwaard are jointly investing in, among other things, new bus stops along the N214 and P+R facilities at all bus stops, that will make it easier to quickly travel to the Drechtsteden and Utrecht by bus.
Regional portfolio manager Boender: “The Alblasserwaard-Vijfheerenlanden region is glad with the Province of Zuid-Holland's investments in new bus stops along the N214 at the exits Bleskensgraaf, Molenaarsgraaf, Noordeloos and Meerkerk. The bus stop furnishings have been replaced, a bicycle parking is available and bicycle lockers are being installed. The platforms are better accessible from the villages”.
After a period of preparations, in which the Province, the regions and the municipalities collaborated intensively with the new operator Qbuzz and various other parties, the region now has a completely new public transport network. The concession started energetically, without any problems worth mentioning. The new network comprises a sturdy 'backbone’ of high-quality public transport connections (HOV) These HOV services are fast and frequent R-net and snelBuzz services. The region will have 7 in total, 3 R-net and 4 snelBuzz services. The successful MerwedeLinge service from now on will be part of the R-net as well. The R-net buses are known for their red-grey appearance, are very comfortable and run at least 4 times per hour on work days.
The snelBuzz offers passengers the same comfort, but runs less frequently at certain times. The network will be complemented by regular city and regional services and where necessary by small-scale mobility solutions, to allow everyone to travel door-to-door, in the city as well as in the rural area. As is usual with new timetables, the first weeks will show whether all conceived ideas work 100% in practice, which is why Qbuzz is monitoring the performance closely. Refinements will be made where called for.
More than just buses
The success of fast, reliable and comfortable public transport depends on good infrastructure. That is why the Province of Zuid-Holland is investing heavily in quite a number of infrastructure measures. Measures to increase the flow of the bus, just like in the recently reconstructed Sportlaan in Sliedrecht, where the Municipality combined major maintenance with a number of flow measures for the bus. The bus now has priority at the traffic lights, for instance. Councillor Spek: "In the Sportlaan, we took a few relatively simple measures with the Province's financial assistance. The buses can now continue to run much more smoothly, and that increases the public transport's appeal. The new public transport range is a leap forward for Sliedrecht.”
The Province has realised new HOV stops along the N214, that offer passengers more protection from rain and wind, as well as bicycle parkings at Bleskensgraaf, Molenaarsgraaf, Noordeloos and the public transport hub under construction at the A27/Meerkerk. Waiting for a bus becomes a lot more comfortable this way.
27 stops have been dealt with in the Drechtsteden (at 13 locations); in Alblasserdam, Papendrecht, Dordrecht, Zwijndrecht, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Sliedrecht Baanhoek and at the new transfer point Oostendam. 11 stops at 5 locations are involved in the Alblasserwaard. Most of the stops have now been completed and where work is still going on, the travellers can take the Qbuzz as normal.
Basis for the future
The new network forms the basis of further development of the region's public transport system. More small-scale mobility solutions will follow in the next few years. Qbuzz will continue to make the public transport more sustainable and the Province and the municipalities will collaborate on the further improvement of the bus infrastructure, for instance, the realisation of more HOV stops, cycle paths, the bus lane at the Edisonroad and the development of the bus platform at the Helling, Alblasserdam.
For more information on travelling in the Drechtsteden, Molenlanden and Gorinchem region, please visit www.qbuzz.nl/dmg.