Rail travel up 5%, says NS

Despite all its bad press, Dutch Rail (NS) on Thursday announced that passenger numbers increased by 5% for the second year running. Speaking at the presentation of its 2006 figures at Amsterdam Central Station, NS chief Aad Veenman said the increase was ‘phenomenal’.

The figures indicate progress is being made towards the target of 1.5 million daily passengers that the NS has set for itself for 2020. Currently some 1.1 million people use the train a day.
The NS believes that increased road congestion will make public transport more attractive and plans to invest between €2bn and €3bn in improving services in the coming years. It also wants the government to spend more on rail infrastructure, calling for extra investment of around €7.5bn.
The organisation’s expansion plans include more frequent high speed trains (160km an hour) between the country’s biggest cities. The first step is a new high speed link between Amsterdam and Breda which will knock 40 minutes off the journey time and is due to start at the end of the year.
Last year 67% of passengers gave NS a score of seven or higher in terms of customer satisfaction, compared to 68% a year earlier. Safety at stations scored particularly high although passengers still companied about trains running late, the poor quality of customer information and poor service from staff.
Veenman promised that the NS would invest ‘tens of millions of euros’ to improve these shortcomings.
The NS booked net profit of €197m last year and made investments of €372m, mainly in new trains.

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