National rail tries to avoid crowding at the coast after legal threats
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
The SNCB, Belgium’s national railway service, will place a link on its website to a barometer showing how busy it is at the coast, West-Flanders governor Carl Decaluwé confirmed on Monday.
The Mayor of seaside town Knokke-Heist had threatened on Monday to take the SNCB to court, with the accusation that it “deliberately organises the export of the coronavirus from Brussels to the Coast.”
The barometer’s purpose is to avoid masses of people at the seaside during the summer months, as people can postpone or move their trip if they see it’s too busy. If it turns out that there are too many people at the coast, the SNCB can cancel extra trains to the coast up to three days in advance.
“That’s a start, but we’re on the eve of the summer holidays,” said Decaluwé. “It’s high time that the SNCB puts in a bit of effort and organises itself with a good plan,” he added. It would be good if tourists were already told inland that the coast is ‘full’, according to the governor. “It can’t be the intention that the trains run full to coastal towns that are already full. Then local chiefs of police will have to close down their municipalities.”
According to the governor, the mayor of Knokke-Heist has a point. “A plan must be drawn up as soon as possible, also for the trains themselves, because standing up on an overcrowded train doesn’t seem safe to me. Public health takes precedence over the commercial,” Decaluwé said.