Neuwied/Rhein-Sieg District. Because a bus company terminated its cooperation with RSVG at the end of the year, lines that cross the state border into the Rhein-Sieg District will be cut from January onwards. The ones who will suffer are the commuters.
Bad news for users of local public transport (ÖPNV) buses crossing the state border between North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate: As of January 1, they have to change to other buses at the state border. This was announced by the district of Neuwied. The reason for this was the decision of a bus company not to continue working with the Rhein-Sieg-Verkehrsgesellschaft (RSVG), which is responsible for bus traffic on the North Rhine-Westphalian side. The Neuwied district now announced that the company had unilaterally terminated the cooperation.
According to the announcement, there will be "a structural change" on 1 January 2020 on the public transport lines 522, 539, 562 and 564 between the municipality of Asbach and the Rhein-Sieg district. The concession holder for the regular service in the area of the municipality of Asbach has been the company Martin Becker, based in Altenkirchen. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the line licences are in the hands of RSVG. A cooperation between the two companies had so far ensured that passengers did not have to change at the state border.
However, this cooperation has now been terminated by the Becker company with effect from 31 December, so that passengers will have to change at the state border from 1 January. Against this background, an information meeting with the local mayors of the municipality of Asbach took place at the municipal administration of the Asbach association, at which the district of Neuwied, as the responsible cost unit for school travel, was informed about the changes.
"After we were informed by the approval authority that the cooperation agreement had been unilaterally terminated on 31 December, we tried in various discussions to avert the separation of the lines and vehemently pointed out the disadvantages this would cause for passengers," announced Michael Mahlert, First District Councillor. "However, due to legal requirements, the licensing authority was also forced to grant the company's application, so that the changeover could not be prevented," Mahlert continued.
But one thing is certain: "This is a significant, long-term unacceptable deterioration for passengers, especially for schoolchildren and commuters who use the connections on a daily basis," Mahlert and Asbach's Association Mayor Michael Christ agree. "For this reason, the district of Neuwied, together with the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, is working flat out on a new concept for cross-border scheduled services, so that in future there will again be no need to change trains", Mahlert continues.
The new concept should come into force on June 1, 2020 at the latest, as the concessions in favour of the Martin Becker company will still have to be approved by then and the company has to ensure regular service to the state border by that date.
However, until a new regulation is in place, passengers would have to be prepared for the significant deterioration and longer travel times. The schools affected by the changeover in the Asbach municipality and in the Rhein-Sieg district have already been informed.
The timetables valid from January 1 can be found on the websites of the two companies at www.rsvg.de and www.mb-bus.de.
(Original text: Claudia Sülzen/Translation: Mareike Graepel)