Dutch Rail NS said on Friday that a test run of an off-peak commuter discount was a success and that it is considering making it permanent.
During the three-month trial period, 22,000 commuters willing to travel between 6.30am and 7.30am or between 8.30am and 9.00am received a 40% discount on their journey. Normally commuters only qualified for a discount of they travelled before 6.30 or after 9.00.
NS said the scheme made travelling by train more attractive for people who normally drive to work and are meeting with more frequent traffic jams.
The cost of extending the discount for all commuters would cost an annual €35m, NS said. The money could come from the €300m fund set up by the government to help meet climate change targets, the state-owned rail group said.
NS said that during the test period passenger numbers declined by 5.5% at the peak of the rush hour between 7.30am and 8.30am.
Because of the discount commuters traveled at other times freeing up space in the train carriages. At the height of the rush hour – 8.00am – 10% fewer commuters were on the trains. The rail company said the discount scheme made the difference between an overcrowded train and a comfortable trip.
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