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All change on Rotterdam trams by 2030?

A Rotterdam Alstom Citadis in Vlaardingen, where service would double at the expense of the Woudhoek branch. (Vlaardingen24

A Rotterdam Alstom Citadis in Vlaardingen, where service would double at the expense of the Woudhoek branch. (Vlaardingen24

On 7 February the Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag published a consultation document called Plan Toekomstvaast Tramnet 2030  (Plan for the future tramway network 2030) for Rotterdam. Intended to meet the needs of residents as the city reshapes with new housing areas to accommodate planned population growth, the plan took some commentators by surprise in recommending some tramway closures on sections of route where passengers numbers are relatively low or where tracks cannot be segregated, in addition to putting forward new lines. Trams are to be speeded up by reducing the number of stops, and frequency improved on lines 2, 23 and 25. The eastern section of line 7 to Woudesstein is set to disappear, as is the section of line 8 between Marconiplein and Spangen. While at the other end the branch of line 8 to Kleiweg goes in favour of line 8 taking over the Schiebroek line from the 25. The northern arm of line 4 is cut back from Molenlaan to Kootsekade and on the western section the street track in Nieuwe Binnenweg goes.. Line 21 disappears and with it the Woudhoek branch. The plan says ‘buses are faster and of better quality than the trams they replace’. A new eastern radial line is proposed from Kralingse Zoom, south across the river and then west to Zuidplein for metro interchange. A new western crossing of the Maas would give the opportunity for a tramline from Centraal Station to Zuidplein.

The existing schedule of lines should look like this is 2030:

2, Charlois–Keizerswaard;

4, Kootsekade–Eendrachtsplein;

7, Marconiplein–Crooswikj;

8, Marconiplein–Schiebroek;

23, Centraal Station–Beverwaard;

24, Vlaardingen Holy–De Esch;

25, Centraal Station–Carnisselande.

The aim is to cut operating costs by 4% and boost passenger numbers by 15%. The plan has been sent to the four local councils and passenger representatives for comments to be made by mid-April. Already in March petitions were being circulated to reverse the tram closure plans.