08 Jul 2020


In the Netherlands three provinces responsible as public transport authority for the bus concession IJssel-Vecht (in the mid-east part of the country) have withdrawn the concession, granted only last year to French Keolis. The reason for this: "deliberate provision of incorrect information". With this concession Keolis ordered last year in November 259 electric buses at BYD, the largest order for e-buses in Europe, and over 50 electric minibuses at Ginaf.

The choice of Chinese bus suppliers was already subject of a lot of criticism in the Netherlands especially by VDL Bus & Coach and even led to questions in parliament. The three provinces are Overijssel, Gelderland and Flevoland. The incorrect information concerns certain “side letters” about guarantees for delivery of the buses discovered by Keolis and later on made public by a critical financial website “Follow the Money”. Two managers within Keolis responsible for this are dismissed. The various provincial authorities have consulted in the past seven weeks about whether or not to withdraw the "cheat concession" IJssel-Vecht after signals about secret fraudulent contracts. "Inaccurate information was provided in the tender and we are feeling overwhelmed," said Deputy Bert Boeman of the province of Overijssel. "We must withdraw that award. Integrity is paramount.”

The concession should have started December this year. Keolis is also the current transport company for this region. The new concession is for the next ten years and is worth 900 million euros. Two competing transport companies have been asked to organize an emergency concession from December. A new concession will then take effect in December 2021 at the earliest. Keolis still has fourteen days to object.

A renewed tender procedure may offer Dutch bus manufacturers VDL Bus and Coach and Ebusco new opportunities on the record order of 259 electric buses. After their decision is final, the provinces want to invite numbers two and three of the original tender procedure asking whether their offer still stands. They can still win the contract. The relevant transport company then decides which bus manufacturer to work with.

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