NS struggles to increase its capacity while respecting the 1.5m rule

How do you transport people by train while still respecting the 1.5 metre rule? That’s what the NS is trying to figure out with a test run between Zwolle and Groningen this week, RTLZ reports.

Respecting the 1.5m rule, so far, has meant that about 75% of train seats need to be empty. For example, in the four-seat arrangement that is very common on Dutch trains, only one of the four seats can be occupied. The NS is using a system of green and red stickers to show where passengers can sit, and where not.

Demand is expected to increase soon

For the moment, this method of keeping trains 75% empty works well, because demand for public transport has fallen to 85% of its previous level. But when schools reopen, and more regulations relax, using one seat in every four is going to be a major problem.

Trains cannot be made longer because of platform lengths

Other solutions, such as lengthening trains or adding extra trains, are also not possible, because the NS has to respect platform length, and the fact that the Dutch railway system is already very busy. Standing in the carriages, for obvious reasons, is also not a possibility.

Plastic screens are an option

The NS is experimenting with one carriage in these test trains where passengers are separated by a glass screen in the four-seat arrangement: a solution that would allow trains to run at 50% capacity. But, of course, that means quite a bit of work would need to be done on trains before they are ready to be back in service.

One-way system in carriages

Another rule which may help the NS to run its trains safely is to put in place a one-way system in the carriages, so passengers don’t have to pass each other as much.

Do you have any solutions that could allow the NS to increase its capacity in a 1.5m society? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Pixabay/Skitterphoto

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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