Overcrowded trains expected as summer holidays end

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

Dutch rail company NS is preparing for its busiest month in the year. The rail company expects to transport over 35 million passengers in September, as the summer holidays end and people get back to school and work. Overcrowded trains, like traffic jams on the highways, are to be expected, CEO Roger van Boxtel said to newspaper AD.

In September last year, NS transported a record 33.3 million passengers, according to AD. "In the busy Netherlands, standing during rush hour is part of it", Van Boxtel said, warning of lines, crowds and maybe delays. He emphasized that NS is investing 2.5 billion euros in trains.

Through purchases and smarter maintenance, the rail company has 200 extra carriages available, which will be used to extend trains on busy routes. Starting on September 6th, NS is also testing running a train on the busy Amsterdam-Utrecht-Eindhoven route every 10 minutes. This means that 15 percent more passengers can be transported on this route. 

As public transit is expected to only get busier in the coming years, only investing in extra trains is not enough, Van Boxtel warns. He calls for more investment in infrastructure. 

According to travelers' organization Rover, there is little more NS can do about overcrowded trains. "A lot of new train carriages were added and old ones were renovated", spokesperson Chris Vonk said to AD. "The only option is the introduction of flexible travel and study times so that more people are in the trains during rush hour. But in practice, this is proving difficult to reallize."