Overcrowded trains: Dutch railway NS headed to court

Crowded train (Picture: Twitter/@michellekroekie). (Crowded train (Picture: Twitter/@michellekroekie))

Consumers' organization ConsumentenClaim is filing a lawsuit against Dutch railway NS. The organization, which specializes in mass claims, wants the court to force NS to pay compensation to the thousands of railway passengers who have suffered under overcrowded trains, ANP reports.

ConsumentenClaim is acting on behalf of over 10 thousand train passengers. According to director Stef Smith, these passengers did not get the service and comfort they paid for and should therefore be refunded at least part of their expenses. The organization is turning to court because discussions with NS did not result in a solution, Smith said.

The organization kept track of the intercity route from Utrecht ot Amsterdam in November 2016 to see how crowded the trains really. They found that 45 percent of people had to wait standing for over 15 minutes and sometimes could not get on the train because it was already full. As there are no handles on the intercity trains for standing people to hold on to, there were also some dangerous situations, according to ConsumentenClaim.

"NS apparently finds making profits more important than properly transporting passengers. I can't draw another conclusion", Smith said to the news wire. 

Standing during rush hour is annoying, but NS is working hard on fixing the problem, a spokesperson for the railway responded to the news wire. Old double-decker trains are being re-deployed and in 2014 NS placed an urgent order for 58 new sprinters. 26 of them are already in operation, the rest will come later this year. NS also points out that the economic recovery does not only mean more traffic on the road, but also on the train. "A ticket also does not guarantee a seat.Standing in rush hour is unfortunately part of the busyness in the Netherlands. We have been quite honest about this: It will always be so."

The spokesperson added that NS is shocked that "we treat each other so in the Netherlands." "This kind of American conditions will not help the traveler", NS responded to the lawsuit.