High-speed train operator in financial trouble

The company charged with operating high speed trains in the Netherlands is in financial trouble and action needs to be taken to avoid bankruptcy, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen said in a note to MPs.

The company, High Speed Alliance, is 90% owned by the Dutch national railways NS and 10% by Air France-KLM. They won sole operating rights 10 years ago, well before the track was completed.
The minister said the southern high speed route to the Belgian border had proved expensive to operate and had failed to attract enough passengers. In particular, the Fyra service between Amsterdam and Rotterdam has not been a hit, with many trains almost empty.
At the end of last year, NS Hispeed director Maarten Spaargaarden admitted that it might take 15 years before the route made a profit.
Prices cut
From Tuesday, Fyra ticket prices between Rotterdam and Schiphol have been cut. Passengers using that route had to pay an extra €6 for their high-speed seat but that has been reduced to €2.10.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, the cost of a ticket between Amsterdam and Antwerp rose 25% when high speed services were introduced last year.
MPs are due to debate Fyra’s problems with the minister on Tuesday.

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