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Media ArticleDec 22, 2022
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Finally an alternative to line 18: Haagse Hopper to and from Clingendael

This article has been translated from the original Dutch.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday 9 December 2018, the last line 18 departed from Laan van Clingendael towards the city center of The Hague. Since then, the neighborhood of Uilennest, sandwiched between the Clingendael estate and the Benoordenhoutseweg, has been without bus transport.

For almost five years, local residents and traveler organizations have been committed to offering the - mainly older - residents of Benoordenhout full public transport. Initially without result, but persistence wins. From 1 January, HTM buses will run to and from Clingendael again.

Hague Hopper

Then the transport company launches the Haagse Hopper, the local variant of a 'butterfly bus'. This eight-person van commutes flexibly between Benoordenhout and the city center. When the van runs depends on demand. The Hopper can be booked via an app (Ride Pingo). There is no fixed route or timetable, but there are twelve entry and exit points. “You can reserve a ride from sixty minutes before departure. You will then see the final pick-up time in the app about half an hour before departure,” explains a spokesperson for the HTM. The new bus service is available on weekdays from 07:00 to 21:00 and on Saturdays and public holidays from 12:00 to midnight. The van does not run on Sundays. This is an experiment that will in principle last until December 2025.

Unlike a regular bus, it is not possible to board the Haagse Hopper without a reservation. “Because of the limited number of seats, it is important that you book in advance.” A single journey with the dial-a-bus costs 1.50 euros. Payment is made in the bus by debit card, it is not possible to check in with an OV chip card. “This is more flexible. If we also make the bus accessible for public transport chip cards, card readers will be needed again. That is difficult if there is a malfunction. And almost everyone has a bank card in their pocket,” says the HTM spokesperson. It is also possible to order the van by telephone, but then there will be one euro in call costs.

Gelderland

With the Haagse Hopper, Benoordenhout is the first in The Hague to have a bus on call. This is already a tried and tested recipe elsewhere in the country. For example, in Gelderland, where the flexible bus service operates under the name 'butterfly bus'. According to carrier Arriva, this service is 'developing considerably'. Arriva Butterfly runs in and around Zutphen, Doetinchem and Lochem, among others. Furthermore, the Utrecht carrier recently expanded the flexible bus lines to Vijfheerenlanden and Maarssen. Arnold van der Heijden of the Rover Den Haag travel association is satisfied with the arrival of the dial-a-bus. “After the loss of line 18, there was nothing in Clingendael. Public transport in that area was really insufficient. Fortunately, that is now changing.”

Van der Heijden was involved in the elaboration of the experiment, for example in the choice of stop locations. “These mainly come in the area that line 18 left behind. I think we can help a lot of local residents with this. But it remains an experiment. Fortunately, the trial lasts three years, which is long enough to get reliable results.”