Dutch railway company NS may be given the go-ahead to increase the price of rush-hour tickets if it is the only way to reduce overcrowding.
Despite a storm of criticism when the proposal leaked out earlier this year, junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld said in a briefing to parliament on Monday that the measure is an appropriate way to spread rail travel.
The NS may now draw up a detailed proposal but will have to fulfill a number of conditions before it can be implemented. These include showing that ‘expanding capacity, optimising the timetable and price cuts do not work or are too expensive’, news agency ANP quotes her as saying.
If the flexible fairs are introduced, people travelling by train in peak periods will pay 10% more for their travel. Off-peak charges will drop by 12% and season tickets go up by a maximum 6%.
Mansveld has also announced that the fines she levies on NS for poor performance will go up if the company fails to meet targets for two years in a row.
The fines for the NS can total a maximum of €6.5m in any one year, Mansveld said. ProRail, which runs the tracks, can be fined up to €2.75m. Both the NS and ProRail are 100% state-owned.
The measures are contained in the new agreements made between the minister and NS covering rail services for the next 10 years.
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