NS expects €4.7 billion loss; state support needed

NS train at Amsterdam Central Station
NS train at Amsterdam Central StationjovannigDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

NS expects to lose 4.7 billion euros in the coming years thanks to the coronavirus crisis. It will take some five years before the rail company will again transport the same number of passengers as before the crisis. State support is desperately needed, NS financial director Bert Groenewegen said to NRC.

The loss of income means that NS will have to shrink, he said. Through shrinking, the company hopes to save 1.4 billion euros in the next five years. The aim is to do so without layoffs, but for that government support is necessary, Groenewegen said.

"Our starting point is to get smaller without layoffs. That requires us to talk to employees about new functions or new locations. We will discuss this with the unions and the employee participation bodies," Groenewegen said to the newspaper. The rail company employs around 20 thousand people. They were informed of the company's plans earlier in the week.

Since the first measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus were taken in mid-March, the number of daily train travelers dropped from 1.3 million to around 110 thousand - a decrease of around 90 percent. From June 2, NS will run according to it normal schedule again, but capacity will be limited to around 40 percent of passengers per train. This is so that passengers and railway workers can better adhere to social distancing measures

NS expects that the coronavirus will result in fewer passengers for years to come.