Switch to new train times goes smoothly

The introduction of a completely new national train timetable caused few problems for commuters during Monday’s rush hour, Dutch rail officials said this morning. The new timetable, replacing one dating from 1970, was officially introduced on Sunday after three years of preparation.

But the real test came this morning, as 1.1 million people used the railway system to get to work. The chaos which some had predicted failed to materialise.
Jacques Herbert, director of passenger services at NS (Dutch Rail) said he was optimistic now that the first rush hour had passed with no more delays than normal. On the whole, passengers were well prepared for the changes, he told BNR Nieuwsradio.
The public transport information site 9292 was visited over 1.9 million times on Sunday, the Volkskrant reported. In Utrecht, the Netherlands’ busiest commuter station, it was ‘business as usual’, NS said. Some delays in Rotterdam and Limburg were caused by mechanical problems, not the new timetable.
The NS has totally revamped its timetable in an effort to deal better with the growth in rail travel – set to reach 7% this year – and to cut delays. Not only do trains leave at different times, but journey and connection times have changed as well.
Regional bus firms Connexxion and Arriva and Rotterdam’s public transport firm RET have also changed their timetables to fit in with the new train times. That switch went smoothly too, officials said.

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