Designing a dispute system for Dutch public transport

How could the roadmap for improved coordination and conflict resolution mechanisms in public transport look like?

The challenge

Multiple stakeholders are involved in public transport. In order to run things smoothly and keep customers satisfied, cooperation and coordination is pivotal, but also challenging. Public transport authorities and public transport providers in the Netherlands share the need for an improved system of coordination and dispute resolution.

But what are the requirements of such a system? Which factors are critical for the mechanisms to work efficiently and effectively? Which pitfalls should be avoided? And how could the design look like?

The response

Nineteen Dutch public transport authorities and ten public transport providers are currently involved in a first explorative process in which they investigate options for an efficient and effective coordination and dispute resolution mechanism.

After identifying the types and incidence of conflicts, the likely issues and interests involved, existing impediments and possible room for improvement, they will make a start with the exploration of possible terms of reference:

  • If a problem emerges, how and when will the parties meet?
  • Once at the table, how to guarantee an effective exchange of visions, interests, and facts?
  • How to divide tasks, contributions, costs?
  • How to assess whether an outcome is fair?
  • Who will be the neutral third, if no agreement could be reached?
  • Money and time: what are the maximum costs of the procedure? Within what time frame should the conflict be dealt with?

This project has resulted in a draft for a dispute system co-created with representatives of the stakeholders and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu). The Ministry is considering to continue on this track, either with a private dispute resolution system or by setting up a new public body overseeing public transport.

Project details

Project leader: Prof. Maurits Barendrecht
Duration: January 2012 - October 2012
Contact: Prof. Maurits Barendrecht