NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam public transport operator GVB reports that it carried more passengers than anticipated in 2023, with an increase in tourists and leisure travellers compensating for the drop in regular commuters because of hybrid working.

GVB said this was helped by the introduction of bank card payment which has made it easier for people to use public transport.

On May 17 GVB said its financial results were better than expected, with targeted interventions and higher revenues turning a predicted significant operating deficit into breaking even, despite the uncertainties arising from geopolitical and economic developments, the end of post-pandemic support, labour shortages and increases in energy and equipment prices.

However, GVB said it had not always served passengers optimally, with staff shortages and equipment failures preventing the operation of a full timetable every day, and passenger information during disruption being less than ideal.

High absenteeism owing to illness is being tackled through a preventative approach with training, and in-depth investigation to determine the causes.

GVB says it has not met recruitment targets, despite intensified efforts, but it has reached a collective agreement with the trade unions offering wage increases.