NS drops evening rush-hour discounts, widens pay-per-journey travel card system

Photo: Jonathan Marks
Photo: Jonathan Marks

Dutch railway company NS is scrapping afternoon discounts for hundreds of thousands of travellers in 2021.

The decision is part of a revamp of the company’s season ticket system, which will reduce the number of different discount cards from 22 to 11.

Customers with an off-peak and afternoon rush-hour discount card currently enjoy 40% lower ticket prices in first and second class. The Voordeelurenabonnement was last sold in 2011 but some 700,000 rail users still have one.

The decision means rush hour travellers will have more chance of a seat on busy routes, NS said. ‘It is increasingly busy during rush hour and we are doing all we can to offer as many passengers as possible a seat,’ NS board member Tjalling Smit said.

‘We are investing billions in new trains and helping passengers find a seat using the NS app. Discounts during the busy evening rush hour no longer have a place.’

Rail users lobby group Rover says it it had advised the NS not to give up the afternoon discount. ‘We regret the fact people will have to pay more,’ a spokesman said.

In addition, the NS is transferring more of its subscriptions to the NS Flex system which means people will be able to travel even if their smart cards are empty.

NS Flex users are sent a monthly bill and the amount is automatically deducted from their bank account instead.

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