NS recruits office workers to volunteer on trains

A Dutch train.
Trains are still running Photo: Depositphotos.com
A Dutch train.
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Train operator NS is going to ask office workers to become assistant conductors for a couple of hours a week as a temporary measure to reduce pressure on busy services.

Long trains require the presence of two conductors, not only because of the work involved but because of safety rules, an NS spokesperson told broadcaster NOS.

The NS said it is hoping to recruit hundreds of volunteers but emphasised the measures are temporary. ‘The number of external applications for the job have tripled but it will be some time before these people get to work, hence this temporary solution,’ a spokesman said.

The first assistants will start work on the trains in January following a short training programme.

The move follows an announcement on Monday of further cuts to the timetable from November 7. Intercity services between Den Haag Centraal and Amsterdam Centraal, Rotterdam Centraal and Utrecht Centraal, and from Alkmaar to Schagen and Haarlem, will be reduced at off-peak times and all day on Friday.

Rush-hour trains are also being cut on several sprinter routes, including Rotterdam to Dordrecht, Utrecht to Leiden, Oss to Den Bosch and Den Haag to Gouda.

Rail passengers’ organisation Rover has reported a surge in complaints during October, ranging from packed trains to poor communication. The state-owned rail operator will be submitted to a ‘tough evaluation’ at the end of the year for ‘shortcomings in their service to passengers,’ junior infrastructure minister Vivianne Heijnen said earlier this month.

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