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.
Beaches and other recreation areas in the Netherlands started streaming full early on a warm and sunny Ascension Day on Thursday. Various security regions had to take measures to try and disperse the crowds, including closing roads towards beaches.
Various access roads to the beaches of Bloemendaal, Heemskerk, Wijk aan Zee, IJmuiden, and Zandvoort were closed down to car traffic, Veiligheidsregio Kennemerland announced. The road to Castricum beach was also closed, according to NOS. Veiligheidsregio Zeeland closed down the boulevards in Vlissingen.
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.
NS will use green stickers to show travelers where they can sit when trains start running on schedule again on June 2, the rail company said. This is to make sure travelers can keep sufficient distance from each other. Only window seats can be used, which means about 50 percent of seats will be available.
Overcrowded trains prompted national railway NS to urge passengers not to travel on Saturday to Zandvoort, a popular seaside resort west of Amsterdam. "Don't do it, don't take the train if not necessary. You are risking a new lockdown," NS boss Roger van Boxtel warned on Twitter.
"It is very busy on the trains toward Zandvoort. We urge you not to take the train to the beach anymore. Together we must avoid major crowds, the trains are still not for outings," cautioned the NS in a statement around noon.
From Tuesday, NS will no longer allow bicycles on the train. The company is also scrapping group discounts, in an effort to keep trains as available as possible for necessary trips. On Wednesday the government announced a step-by-step plan to relax the intelligent lockdown the Netherlands is in due to the coronavirus.
Next week ProRail and NS will start testing social distancing measures at six stations in the Netherlands. The measures, intended to help travelers keep 1.5 meters apart, will be introduced on a step-by-step basis, with the public transit companies evaluating their effectiveness throughout, NS said on Monday.
Train passengers traveling from the Netherlands through Belgium will be required to wear face masks during their journeys beginning on Monday. Dutch rail service NS, and international train operators Eurostar and Thalys all issued warnings about the new rule change over the weekend.
Starting on May 4, all passengers on the Thalys headed to Belgium or France must have a mask in order to board the train. Homemade masks, medical masks, and respirators would all be acceptable and in keeping with guidelines provided by the Belgian authorities, the Thalys said.
From Tuesday, NS is expanding its timetable to run more intercity trains. This is to give people who are traveling to work by public transport more space to stay 1.5 meters apart. It will also make travel time for longer distances shorter. Other public transport companies are also increasing their capacity in response, RTL Nieuws reports.
Temperatures in De Bilt, Utrecht climbed to 18 degrees Celsius at noon on Monday, making it the warmest King's Day ever. The previous record dated from King's Day 2014, Weeronline reported. While today is the warmest King's Day, it is not the warmest April 27th in Netherlands history.
That record stands at 27.3 degrees in 2007 - before King Willem-Alexander took the throne.
The number of reported cases where a person with a coronavirus infection died stood at 4,409 on Saturday. The number of people who registered a positive test and required hospitalization was 10,381.
It includes at least 24 people who entered the hospital on Friday, according to the RIVM. Of the 100 new hospitalizations reported on Saturday, most took place in the previous two days, with some stretching back to March 18. The data is continuously updated as more test results are received by the agency.
Schiphol Airport went smoke-free starting on Wednesday, closing the last of its designated smoking areas located in the secured parts of the airport. Smoking was already forbidden in areas outside of security checkpoints.
The square outside Schiphol Plaza, known as Jan Dellaertplein, is the last remaining place where passengers and visitors may smoke at the airport. The airport plans to move the smoking areas there further away from the plaza’s entries and exits.
With the Netherlands urged to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a video posted online Thursday morning showed how one NS train conductor is "working" from home. It was viewed about 275 thousand times by late afternoon.
The video features the conductor, in full uniform, stepping out of his house, checking for stray passengers, checking the time, and then blowing his whistle to signal that all is safe, before stepping back into his house and shutting the door.
Dutch rail company NS is significantly reducing the number of trains running from Saturday, due to the coronavirus. From every station in the Netherlands, only two trains an hour will run in all directions, according to the new basic timetable. There will also be no night trains in the coming period, NU.nl reports.
People in the Netherlands seem to be heeding Prime Minsitter Mark Rutte's call to work from home as much as possible. The train stations were "extremely quiet" on Friday morning. And there were hardly any traffic jams on the roads.
It was "extremely quiet" on the trains and a the stations on Friday morning, a spokesperson for rail company NS said to NU.nl. "We actually have not had a rush hour. We do not have hard figures yet, but conductors and employees at stations see the call to work from home and not to go out has been answered."
NS is presenting special public transport tickets for teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18, which are cheaper than normal train tickets. The Dutch rail company hopes that this will encourage more young people to take the train. The new teen tickets will be available from the summer, NOS reports.
NS offered apologies after a conductor played a football song about Jews on an intercity train between Tilburg in Rotterdam on Saturday evening. "Let it be clear: we find this completely inappropriate," the rail company said on Sunday after being alerted to the situation by a traveler, NOS reports.
The song was "Waar komen Joden toch vandaan", which translates to "Where do Jews come from". The song is regularly sung in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam by Ajax supporters who use "Jews" as a nickname.
The train station between the Limburg villages of Klimmen and Ransdaal, a national monument dating from 1913, is the most popular train station in the Netherlands, according to a study by NS. 97 percent of travelers gave Klimmen-Ransdaal a score of 7 out of 10 or higher. The Noord-Brabant train station Lage Zwaluwe is least popular with only 27 percent of travelers giving it a satisfactory score.
National railway NS is releasing a new app to provide better information and assistance to passengers with a visual impairment. The app takes the most current information available on platform screens and provides in a manner which can be more easily read by those who have difficulty seeing the digital boards.
“I can now determine for myself which train departs from a platform and check whether I am in the right position,” said Peter Waalboer in a press release issued by NS. He was one of the app’s early testers. “This makes my train journey a little more independent.”
Strong winds continue to blow along the coast of the Netherlands on Tuesday. Schiphol warned travelers that this can lead to more canceled and delayed flights. Travelers association ANWB also warned road users to be aware of the strong winds and adjust their driving behavior accordingly.
By 7:20 a.m., Schiphol reported 47 canceled departures, 51 canceled arrivals, and dozens of delays on its website. There are also many gate changes for departures, so travelers are advised to check their flight information carefully.
Public works department Rijkswaterstaat expects that rain will cause problems on the roads during rush hour on Monday evening. NS is still dealing with a number of problems caused by winter storm Ciara on Sunday, so train travelers can also expect a busy commute.
"Traffic jams can be somewhat longer than normal, because rain calls for adjusted driving behavior," Rijkswaterstaat said on Monday afternoon. "We expect a busy rush hour in the evening."
The last bits of winter storm Ciara is still affecting all types of traffic in the Netherlands. Hundreds of flights are canceled at Schiphol for Monday. NS reports a dozen problems on the tracks. And ANWB and Rijkswaterstaat warn of a very busy morning rush hour on the road. Commuters are advised to keep an eye on weather reports and travel planners.
Meteorological institute KNMI still has a code yellow weather warning in place for the whole country, warning of strong winds with gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour. The wind is expected to die down by late morning.
The Netherlands was placed on high alert with winter storm Ciara set to bring very high winds and heavy showers to the country on Sunday and Monday. The entire country faces a series of Code Yellow and Code Orange weather alerts throughout the day, as wind gusts could reach up to 120 kilometers per hour.
Work will be carried out on the railways around Leiden Central Station from Saturday 8 to Sunday 16 February. This is expected to cause train traffic problems throughout the Randstad. NS and travelers' organization Rover urge train users to check the travel planner regularly and not to travel during peak hours. "Don't expect your trip to go as normal," NS said, NU.nl reports