NS boss calls for flexible work, study times to beat train seat shortage

Aerial view of Dutch train at a bridge crossing a canalInterim NS director Roger van Boxtel has called on universities, schools and colleges to spread lectures more widely over the day to prevent overcrowding on trains at rush hour next year.

Without action, passengers will be less likely to find a seat at busy periods, Van Boxtel told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur on Thursday night.

Older trains, known as ‘monkey heads’ because of their distinctive engine shapes, will be taken out of service from the beginning of 2016. New trains will be coming into use towards the end of the year and a shortage of capacity is inevitable, the NS said last week.

‘We have ordered more than €2bn worth of new trains but we don’t yet have them,’ Van Boxtel said. ‘If we all want to start at the same time and go home at the same time, the chance of getting a seat will be very small,’ the former D66 minister said.

Van Boxtel said he expects the shortage of capacity to last a couple of months. ‘It would help if educational institutes started classes at 10.00 rather than 09.00 and ended not at 15.00 but an hour later,’ he said.

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