Wednesday 05 August 2020

Dutch Rail says it will need government support after passenger downturn

A Dutch high speed train. Photo: Alfenaar via Wikimedia Commons

State-owned national railway company NS says it will need government support to keep its head above water because of the impact of coronavirus on travel.

A shrinking economy, the rise in home working and distance learning, and alternative forms of transport such as electric bicycles, mean the company is likely to post a loss of €4.7bn up to 2025, financial chief Bert Groenewegen told the NRC on Friday.

The company said it expects to be able to save €1.4bn over the next five years and plans to thrash out a plan with unions and the works council in the coming period. ‘We will have to make some difficult choices,’ an NS spokesman told the paper.

Train tickets will not, however, be put up by a large amount to offset the losses, and so far no jobs will be lost.

Train services have been slashed since the start of the coronavirus epidemic but are due to get back to normal from June 1 as more parts of the economy open up. Nevertheless, capacity will be some 40% of pre-crisis passenger numbers because of social distancing measures, the company said earlier.

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