The NS may adjust the prices of train tickets next year for different times and routes, for example for traveling during rush hour. State Secretary Heijnen (Infrastructure) has decided this, she said in a letter to the House of Representatives.
With this, the NS could counteract the crowds during rush hour and eliminate the red numbers. In addition to the rush-hour charge, the NS will also have the option of charging higher prices on busy routes, for example to be able to use longer or more trains. However, the State Secretary emphasizes that there are ‘frameworks’ for measures such as rush-hour tax.
It has long been possible for travelers to travel cheaper by train outside peak hours via special discount subscriptions. But now State Secretary Heijnen has opened the door to making trains more expensive during rush hours.
Main rail network
The cabinet is also looking into whether NS needs more financial support to properly implement the so-called main rail network, the most important rail connections in our country, in the coming years.
There are already agreements with the NS until 2025, but new agreements must be made for the period after that. In addition, State Secretary Heijnen (Infrastructure) believes there is a chance that the company will not have to pay any compensation in the new agreements. A subsidy is also an option, according to Heijnen in a letter to the House. But that needs to be investigated first.
The NS is still struggling with fewer travelers than before the corona pandemic. The increased costs of energy, in particular, but also personnel, equipment and maintenance are also affecting NS. “This has led to a financial shortfall that requires solutions,” said Heijnen in the letter to the House.
The State Secretary emphasizes that NS must continue to cut costs. The company is also given room to increase rates. Research should then show whether more help is needed from the government.
In the current concession for the main rail network, which expires at the end of 2024, the NS pays a compensation of about 80 million euros per year. Heijnen says it may be willing to waive that fee in the new concession.
Heijnen writes to the House that it is not yet clear which measures are necessary to cover the financial shortfall. She hopes to provide further information to the House around the summer. According to European guidelines, agreements on new concessions must be made before December 25 of this year.
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