The ombudsman working for De Lijn is receiving more complaints each year. The biggest stumbling block is the lack of punctuality. Today, only 40 percent of all buses and trams is running on time, that is, with a delay not exceeding five minutes. In other words, over half of De Lijn's bus and tram services have a delay of at least five minutes.
De Lijn is well aware of this problem, but points to the causes, as buses are often stuck in traffic jams. Customer satisfaction surveys show that customer frustrations are increasing together with the growing traffic jams in Flanders.
Bus travel times in Kampenhout of 20 tot 30 minutes fell substantially to reach 10 minutes after the creation of a separate bus lane
De Lijn manager Roger Kesteloot says more separate bus and tram lanes are needed. This requires major investments, but it works: in Kampenhout (Flemish Brabant) a 7.1 km bus lane was created. Buses on average covered the stretch in 20 to 30 minutes before the works, with travel times being reduced to 10 minutes afterwards. Passenger numbers doubled on a daily basis, from 1,500 to 3,000.
Other measures than separate lanes are also possible, De Lijn points put, but these would have to be decided on a local level, to improve fluid bus traffic by smaller measures.