In the current governance structure, the policy and supervision of the public transport are the responsibility of the ministries of infrastructure, environment, finance, as well as provincial, regional and local governments. Through concessions for a limited period of time they try to deliver a good public transport product. Virtually impossible with so many different interests and insights that are involved in the complex system of public transport by aviation, railways, shipping, regional and urban transport over land and water.
The result of such governance is similar to an unreliable clock that never will indicate the correct time due to loose, ill-fitting gears. Hence an unnecessary amount of money is wasted without getting worthwhile results.
The recent experience with the introduction of the OV-chip card (like the oister card), pushing through liberalization although the railroads are actually a natural monopoly, ongoing concession perils such as the HSL-Zuid and various bus companies, the impasse around improvements such as PHS, ETCS/ERTMS and 25 kV serve as an example of this.
If you want a usable clock, then it is better that only one institute is in charge. With lead times lasting many years, the governance should be free from political arbitrariness. We therefore want to introduce a small national public authority that:
- is proficient in the fields of public transport expertise
- overlooks the entire public transport, with the interests of the traveler as a starting point
- works out a long-term vision for the entire public transport, including urban integration
- independently monitores the vision, regardless of which parties are in the government
- has an independent budget, possibly through dedicated tax collection
- is chaired by a kind of Deltaworks commissioner
- bears responsibility for the whole
This way one gets a governance with a single, clear, objective. Like our polder boards have been doing successfully for already many centuries. Only so you’ll get a result as reliable as a Swiss clock.