Junior transport minister Vivianne Heijnen has demanded answers from train operator NS as to why no replacement services were laid on for thousands of passengers who were left stranded on Sunday evening.
The entire network was brought to a halt from around noon by technical problems, causing queues at taxi ranks and forcing many travellers to arrange lifts from friends and family, or via social media.
Heijnen said NS had had a ‘very bad day’ and criticised senior managers for their response and poor communication with travellers. The operator initially said it hoped to resolve the problem by 5pm, then pushed the deadline back to 8pm, but most services did not start running again until midnight.
‘This disruption was highly inconvenient for passengers,’ she said. ‘I want to hear from NS exactly why the entire train network was out of order and why no replacement transport was arranged,’ she said.
”I also want to know from the directors of NS how they’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.’
NS said on Sunday it would not refund passengers who made their own arrangements to go home and it was impossible to organise replacement buses or other services for the whole country.
The technical problems centred on the system which monitors train arrivals and makes sure staff are available in case of delays. Any disruption means the safety of passengers cannot be guaranteed, a spokesman said.
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