The Dutch railway company NS estimates that the number of rail passengers will not return to pre-Corona levels until 2025. In the meantime, the company expects a loss of 4.7 billion euros. Without state support, the NS does not keep its head afloat, says finance director Bert Groenewegen in the nRC newspaper.
According to Groenewegen, it is inevitable that the railway will have to be reduced. The starting point, however, is to do so without forced redundancies, but of course.
The NS wants to save 1.4 billion euros by 2025. “Production costs need to be reduced,” says Groenewegen. “But while maintaining our performance and customer satisfaction. A mandatory condition is that tickets remain affordable.” From 2 June, the NS will again run largely according to the regular timetable with the maximum number of trains, but only 40 to 50 percent of the passengers.
Groenewegen says the company will contact the government in the short term for support. Work is underway, he says, which should be ready by July.
More homework and distance learning
According to Groenewegen, the fact that the NS only wants to transport the number of passengers before the crisis in five years is partly due to the fact that commuting is changing. Companies also have good experience of working from home and higher education will also work further away, he says. “In our forecast for 2024, we are still 7 percent below the 2019 level. We think that by 2025 we will not be able to reach 1.3 million travellers per day, the number before the crisis.”