NS proposes maximum rush hour surcharge at €2.50 per train ticket
Dutch national railway company NS is proposing a decrease in the rush-hour charge to a cap of 2.50 euros in an effort to gain approval from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, AD reported on Monday. NS CEO Wouter Koolmees will be in The Hague on Monday to convince MPs and political parties.
Outgoing Infrastructure State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen presented a plan to the Tweede Kamer in August that proposes charging train passengers higher ticket prices during peak hours. NS has been a vocal proponent of a rush-hour charge for some time. The goal is to encourage passengers to travel outside of rush hours.
VVD, GroenLinks/PvdA, D66, CDA, PVV, SP, and ChristenUnie oppose the rush-hour charge. They argue that certain professions like teachers, cleaners, and nurses cannot avoid commuting during peak times. They also argue that train fares are already high and should not increase further.
In the revised plan, train passengers traveling between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. will be charged a surcharge of 2.50 euros. From 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., the surcharge will be 1.50 euros. NS plans to impose a slightly lower surcharge of 2 euros in the evening, between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The thirty minutes before and after this period will have a surcharge of 1.50 euros.
NS highlighted that the proposed rush-hour charge, set to be implemented in 2026, will only be applied for busy routes. Regional travelers outside the Randstad are expected to benefit, a spokesperson explained.
The money raised will make other train journeys cheaper, NS promised. This change is expected to reduce the cost for 80 percent of journeys. According to NS, the measure is also introduced because managing the current rush hour traffic requires the operation of many more trains, which is expensive. A better distribution of passengers would reduce these costs.
Current agreements on who can operate on most of the rail lines and under what conditions will expire in 2024. As a result, the ministry is currently negotiating the new main rail network concession for the years 2025 to 2033. During these discussions, it was revealed that NS will no longer have exclusive rights to international destinations like London, Paris, and Berlin.
Koolmees will visit the Tweede Kamer on Monday, where he will clarify the concession and address questions. The parliamentary debate is scheduled for Tuesday.