Dutch rail still not on track to financial health, figures show

Photo: NS.nl

Dutch state-owned rail company NS is still posting a loss despite growing post-Covid passenger numbers, its half-year results have shown.

The company’s operational losses fell from €225 million a year ago to €26 million in the first six months of this year.

The company called the results “still not good enough for a financially healthy NS”, predicting that the years ahead will be “financially challenging”.

CEO Wouter Wouter Koolmees said the changing travel habits of the Dutch were one reason for the rail company’s current financial predicament. “People are taking the train more often but we are still not back to the passenger numbers we had before the pandemic,” Koolmees said.

Koolmees said the NS’s social task remained of the utmost importance but is loss-making financially.

An average of 1.1 million people now travel by train on a working day, compared to 1.3 million before the coronavirus crisis shut public transport down.

Caretaker infrastructure junior minister Vivianne Heijnen is looking into giving the NS more financial support to maintain the most vital railway routes when the government renews its contract with the rail operator in 2025.

The company may also increase ticket prices for busy routes, giving the NS the money to use longer trains.

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