Sabine, a resident of the village of Saint-Géry (Chastre), contacted us via the orange “Alert Us” button to denounce the situation she and her neighbors are experiencing. They face many problems with public transport. The TEC mentions a lack of personnel and recruitment problems.
Every day, Sabine, a surface technician in a school in Louvain-la-Neuve, travels by bus between Saint-Géry (section of the municipality of Chastre) and her workplace to get to the school where she work. However, since the management of the TEC has made the decision to no longer replace drivers who are sick or on leave, his delays to work are becoming more and more frequent.
Every minute or hour late, we gotta get it back
“It’s an aberrant situation! It’s been twice, in not even a week, that my bus has been canceled because the driver is absent”, she told us. When his bus does not pass, Sabine must take two more and must buy express tickets which are not reimbursed by the transport company. “Without a bus, many cannot go to work. Every minute or hour of delay, we have to pick it up, neither my place of work nor the TEC does not offer a solution. For now it’s the holidays so it’s ok, but imagine when it will be in period school”, she explains to us.
The children in the village where Sabine lives go to school by the same bus as her, which is why she is perfectly aware of the consequences that these cancellations will have during the school term. She is all the more shocked by the situation as the drivers of bus she knows would tell her that they are quite ready to replace their colleagues.
According SabineShe and other villagers have already lodged several complaints with the TEC, but they have never received a response. “We keep repeating ourselves ‘come and deposit your license plate and receive a free public transport season ticket’ but if after the buses do not pass, how do we do?“s’insurgent Sabine.
Stéphane Thiery, Group Communications Director TECexplains the reasons behind this refusal to replace certain conductors: “We are currently meeting (like all public or private transport operators) a severe shortage of drivers. The situation in Walloon Brabant is particularly critical. Replacing sick people or leaves in the context of a shortage is very difficult: we have to remember about leave and this has a legal limit and above all, risks leading us into a situation much more shocking on the network at the end of the year”.
According to Stéphane Thiery, this shortage has lasted for five years and has worsened following COVID. The TEC tries to speed up recruitment and keep users as well informed as possible about service changes. Certainly useful information, but probably won’t help Sabine and her young neighbors to go to school.