Jampacked trains in the Netherlands to become the norm again

If you’ve gotten used to having four seats to yourself on the train, be prepared for that to change soon. Travellers on the NS trains will have to sit beside each other once again, warns the railway company. 

Over the past few weeks, the Dutch state-owned railway company NS has been receiving several hundreds of complaints from travellers about the trains being overcrowded, reports Trouw.

This didn’t go unnoticed by the Netherlands’ Outbreak Management Team (OMT), who called the situation “undesirable”. But is the railway company at fault?

Coronavirus protocol for public transport

The NS simply follows a protocol that was drawn up last year in cooperation with the OMT and the RIVM, according to which all seats can theoretically be occupied. 

The protocol was agreed on after it became obvious that keeping a 1.5-meter distance won’t be possible on public transport. This is also why wearing a face mask became mandatory on trains. 


However, now people have gotten used to not only face masks, but also having two to four seats to themselves. If the number of travellers increases, people will have to sit next to each other again, warns the NS board member, Tjalling Smit.

“In the past, travellers complained when the train was 90% full. Now they are already doing that at 40%,” he adds.  

Increasing capacity not possible 

While some have been crying for longer trains, there is not really much room for expanding the train capacity, says NS.

Right now, there are only 10% fewer trains than in normal circumstances, and on average, they are also about 10% shorter. Last year, about 580,000 people per day took the train. In 2019, the number was 1.3 million.

How do you feel about the situation on the trains? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: elenawe/Pixabay

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.

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