After a massive storm did large amounts of damage to the Dutch railways on Thursday, NS and ProRail expect that trains will mostly run according to schedule on Friday. Repair work is still being done on some routes and there may be some last minute changes to the train schedule today.
Dutch labor union FNV has announced a massive regional transit strike scheduled to take place on Thursday that will shut down many public transportation routes including tram lines in Utrecht. The planned action is because workers could not get guarantees to reduce job stress, and a proposed salary increase is smaller than demanded.
In his first New Year's Day address to Amsterdam, Acting Mayor Jozias van Aartsen praised Amsterdam as a respected capital city, one that "feels connected to the rest of the country." The annual address lauded efforts to reduce overcrowding in the city center, the development of new neighborhoods and hotspots, and focused attention on continued need for public transit investment.
With the new year starting, the Dutch government is implementing a number of new laws and changing some existing ones. Below is an explanation of changes to the law applying to traffic and public transportation.
Road tax on motor vehicles will rise by 0.8 percent across the board in 2018.
Timo Huges, former CEO of Dutch rail company NS, was acquitted of fraud in the tender process for public transport in Limburg by the court in Den Bosch on Thursday. Five other suspects of fraud in this case were also acquitted, NU.nl reports.
On Monday trade unions CNV Vakmensen and FNV announced labor actions and a possible nationwide, 24 hour long public transit strike on January 4th. These actions are the result of talks on a new collective bargaining agreement for public transit workers collapsing last month, Financieele Dagblad reports.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on January 1st. It covers over 12 thousand public transit employees.
The snowy weather in the Netherlands caused fewer traffic problems on the roads than expected on Monday morning. By 9:00 a.m. there were very few traffic jams left on Dutch roads. Public transit across the country was busier than usual during morning rush hour. According to the ANWB, many people listened to advice to stay off the roads, the Telegraaf reports.
NS is dealing with multiple train traffic disruptions on Monday morning. The rail company currently has seven different train warnings listed on its site. Many cancelations, delays and platform switches are expected.
No train traffic is currently possible to and from Zaandam. According to NS, this is due to "multiple disruptions". The rail company hopes to get trains restarted in this area by 10:00 a.m.
The access gates on Amsterdam Central Station are locked from today. From now on travelers will have to check in with their public transit card to gain access to the station and platforms, NOS reports.
People only visiting the station to say goodbye to someone, or visit one of the stores in the station, can check in and out for free within one hour.
The intention is to also lock the gates at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station before the end of the year. According to NOS, then 75 of the over 400 train stations in the Netherlands will have locked gates.
ProRail will rebuild and revamp large parts of Amsterdam Central Station, Amsterdam Amstel Station and Schiphol Station in the coming years, a spokesperson for ProRail confirmed to NU.nl after reports in the Telegraaf. This is necessary to accommodate the new 10-minute train schedule ProRail and NS plan to implement.
The entrance gates at Utrecht Central Stations will be locked from Monday morning. From now on, people can only access the platforms at the station by checking in with their public transit card. Utrecht Central Station is the 71st station in the Netherlands on which this measure is implemented, NOS reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
On December 29th, an experiment will start with running night subways in Rotterdam and its surrounding areas. For one year, transit company RET will run subways on all lines for an hour longer on Fridays and Saturdays. This means that the last subway will leave Rotterdam at 1:30 a.m., AD reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie plan to invest over 2 billion euros into asphalt, public transit and waterways in the coming years, sources confirmed to RTL Nieuws after reports in the Telegraaf.
A large part of that money is destined to address places where traffic jams often arise, for example on the A1, A12 and A12 highways. The new government is also investing 100 million euros into bicycle paths.
NS intends to close the entrance gates at all major train stations by the end of the year. This started with a three day test at Amsterdam Central Station, which started on Thursday and ends at Saturday. If this test goes well, the gates will be locked permanently at Amsterdam CS from December, meaning that travelers can only enter the station by checking in with their public transit card, NOS reports.
Avid fans of the Dutch Royals braved the early morning cold and mist to make sure they have a good spot along the route the Dutch King and Queen will take from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in The Hague for Budget Day. The first spectators arrived at the palace at 6:30 a.m on Tuesday, according to ANP.
The GroenLinks faction in Amsterdam wants to ban all cars from the city center, according to a draft election program that will be presented to the Amsterdam city council on Thursday, AT5 reports. "We'll make the Mauritskade, Stadhouderskade, and Nassaukade a green cycling- and walking boulevard", the program reads, according to the broadcaster.
On Wednesday morning NS and ProRail started an experiment on running trains on the busy route between Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Bosch and Eindhoven every 10 minutes. The experiment went well during the first morning rush hour, according to the rail organizations, AD reports.
According to NS, the waiting times for travelers were a bit shorter this morning. "The crowds were similar to a normal working day", NS said. A spokesperson added: "We had no cancelations or significant delays. We'll keep a close eye on it for the rest of the day."
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.
NS's group return tickets were intended to encourage families and football teams to take the train to their destination instead of a car, but instead the tickets became easy fraud for bargain hunters and brokers, AD reports. NS estimates that between 15 thousand and 20 thousand travelers use these group tickets fraudulently each month, according to the newspaper.
Public transit card company Translink passed on the travel data of dozens of students to government education service DUO so far this year, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday. The data is used to check that the students are not claiming higher allowances than their due by saying they no longer live with their parents while they still do. Travelers' organization Maatschappij voor Beter OV feels that DUO is violating privacy rules, according to the newspaper.
No trains are running between Rotterdam Central Station and Den Haag Central Station this week, due to maintenance work on the rails. The work started on Monday and is expected to take until Sunday, NS said on its website.
NS advises travelers to detour, for example via Gouda, or use the Randstad Rail. One commuter train will travel between Den Haag Central Station and Den Haag HS. Buses are deployed on some routes.
The rail company advises travelers to take extra travel time of between 15 minutes and 30 minutes into account.
ProRail established a special team to check all fire alarms that go off in the Schiphol tunnel. The rail operator hopes that this team will help stop fire alarms in the tunnel leading to chaos and hours-long delays on the track in the Randstad area, ANP reports.
Fire detectors in the tunnel often sound alarm over small and relatively harmless incidents, bringing train traffic to a stand still while the alarm is investigated. According to ProRail, the new team will check out what is going on within 10 minutes of an alarm and solve the problems themselves as far as possible.
A serious shortage of bus drivers is looming just over the horizon, NOS reports after speaking to the Dutch public transit companies. Some companies even doubt whether they will be able to keep all their bus lines running in the near future.