NS expects major financial troubles in coming years

NS train at the Eindhoven Station
Stock photo of a NS train at the Eindhoven Stationsashk0DepositPhotosDeposit Photos

NS CEO Roger van Boxtel expects that the Dutch rail company will face major financial trouble in the coming years. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the majority of Netherlands residents are working from home, which means that passenger numbers plummeted and losses are mounting, Van Boxtel said in Op1.

From next month, NS trains will largely run according to the normal timetable again. But due to social distancing, only at 40 to 50 percent capacity. The government's instructions are also still that people should stay home as much as possible - so still no recreational trips, and still only a fraction of the commute.

"We are losing unlikely amounts of money, nothing actually comes in while the costs simply continue," Van Boxtel said. He plans to discuss these issues with the Participation Council and the railway unions in the coming days. "I'm working on it day in night." But he expects a few difficult years ahead for his company. "I now see the business model tilting completely. If you keep on spending and you don't get anything in anymore, we will have to meet with our shareholder, the Minister of Finance, to ask him for a capital injection.

Van Boxtel is also worried about possible layoffs. "I will do my utmost to keep all people with a permanent contract on board, but I am also going to as the employees to become as flexible as possible. We must get through this crisis together."