Sometimes it’s hard to work out exactly what company bosses are talking about when they outline future plans. New Dutch Rail (NS) boss Bert Meerstadt told the Volkskrant earlier this week that he wants to build the company into ‘a European multi-modal service provider’ – whatever that is supposed to mean.

Still, from a marketing point of view, it is indeed probably a fine ambition to have when you are supposed to be providing cheap, efficient train services.
But the NS wants to do far more than just that. It wants to be involved in all sorts of modes of transport by buying up chunks of tram, metro, bus and bike companies and bidding for rights to offer non-rail services.
Last year, for example, the state-owned rail company bought a 49% stake in private bus firm Qbuzz, set up by the former boss of then state-owned Connexxion.
It sounds pretty confusing, but NS is bound to know what it is doing with tax-payers’ and passengers’ money.
NS wants to expand beyond the Dutch borders as well. It already has interests in Britain, the Czech Republic and Germany and plans to do more.
‘We can learn a lot abroad about marketing and winning tender processes,’ Meerstadt said.
And about making sure trains are fast, efficient and run on time perhaps?

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