NS wants to help avoid crowds by asking travelers to register for their trips in advance. According to the Dutch Railways operator, this will allow them insight into what times the trains are busiest, reports NOS.
NS has built into their app a special function called Train Guide. This allows passengers to register their journey starting from today. The rail operator emphasises that registering is voluntary and will stay that way in the future.
Far fewer passengers
The rail operator has seen a vast decline in passengers since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The carrier says that 90% of their trains are still running, but with only 30 to 35% of passengers still riding them.
“Some people have the perception that the train is sometimes too busy. With the registration function, we want to allay those concerns a bit. For example, we can send an email if the train seems to be too busy or fails,” says the NS.
The rail company hopes to better predict traveler patterns through these advance registrations. By looking at historical data, they’ve always been able to estimate travelers’ movements, but that has been less successful this year. “Now that people travel less and at other times, we have on much less on all that data at the moment,” says the NS.
The registration service the rail company is now incorporating was tested last summer. They tried it out on the busiest route to the beach, from Haarlem to Zandvoort, which is often congested on hot days or during festivals.
At the time, not many people were able to find the service and it was not widely-used. “We learned from that trial that we must make the function accessible, it must be simple. That is why it is now more visible in the app,” said the NS. This time around, there will be campaigns to increase traveler awareness.
Use beyond the pandemic
The rail company hopes that the function will be used not just during times of coronavirus, but continue to be useful in the future. “First of all, people will hopefully be able to travel more again. In the app you can then see exactly when you can avoid the crowds,” a spokesperson says.
The NS does not wish to disclose the number of passengers who would need to register their journeys for the company to make a sound prediction. A spokesperson for the rails says, “There is no target.”
Will you be willing to register your travel journeys in advance? Let us know in the comments.
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