Consumer group launches legal action against NS for overcrowding

Photo: Jonathan Marks

A consumer protest group in the Netherlands has launched a damages claim on behalf of rail users who are forced to stand on long journeys in over-full trains.

ConsumentenClaim says it represents more than 10,000 rail users who have been forced to stand or wait for the next train because they are too full. A year of negotiations with NS about compensation has failed to bring results, the organisation says.

NS said in a reaction that going ‘American’ will not bring it any closer to solving the problems. The organisation is only out for money, while the NS is doing all it can to reduce overcrowding, spokesman Erik Kroeze told NOS news.

Last year, 26 new trains were introduced and a further 30 will be added to the fleet this year, Kroeze said. In total, NS is spending €2.5bn on new trains.

No action

The NS pledges that passengers on intercity trains will not have to stand for more than 15 minutes.

ConsumentenClaim studied the 20 minute Utrecht-Amsterdam route for three weeks at the end of last year and found more than half of passengers had to stand for more than 15 minutes. In addition, people were regularly told to wait for the next train because it was too full.

ConsumentenClaim director Stef Smit says the NS knew that overcrowding was an issue in 2014 but failed to take action in time. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. You can donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal using this special account [link].