Sick of NS Delays? A New Train of Thought has Arrived at the Station

Sick of being on a train to the nowhere? Hearing a garbled announcement come over the loudspeaker and being expected to wait patiently for god knows how long? Drumming your fingers on the seat next to you praying for the train to slowly creak away? 

NS has been plagued by recent delays in the Randstad and during the spring in Leiden. Now, the passenger organisation Rover is calling for things to change. And boy, we couldn’t be more on board!

Now look, we dutifully accept that train delays are just an unfortunate part of life. However, Rover told De Telegraaf far more can be done with how NS and ProRail handles the issues. According to the organisation, passengers are left ‘miserable’ when delays occur and communication is poor.

A New Train of Thought

Rover has offered advice to NS suggesting that if delays were managed better they wouldn’t be as much of a problem for passengers. When maintenance must be done Rover suggests allowing longer trains to run during work and to reward people if they avoid rush hour (sleep-ins? Yes please!). But more importantly, they say passengers must be kept well-informed of any delays.

Rover Director Freek Bos says NS has a responsibility to update the Journey Planner in advance of the adjusted timetable for the entire duration of the work. “The worst thing is when travellers are surprised by train failures and delays,” he explained. “Carriers must use all means of communication so that everyone can prepare. Customisation is needed for mega jobs.”

Payday for a Train Delay

In cases where travellers are severely disadvantaged, such as with the upcoming works at Leiden, Bos says financial compensation should be given to passengers. NS, surprisingly, agrees:

“We agree with Rover. But if the government and ProRail choose to work more often during the day due to personnel problems and cost savings, then they must also provide financial compensation for travellers, “says a spokesperson.

Bos says the upcoming work at Leiden is a chance to put the plan into action. “From Thursday, work will again be taking place at Leiden. We now want to learn a lesson,” he said.

Have you experienced a long train delay? Been inconvenienced by works on track? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: NS

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Samantha Dixon
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The line from Hilversum to Amsterdam Centraal is down for (basically) the entire month of August – fine, they’ve arranged busses to Weesp…except 3-4 days later when they decided to start the line at Bussum Zuid, open trains between the two, but never bother to tell anyone. The passengers, the dozen or so of us dutifully lining up at 6:15 in the drizzle, and the 2-3 busses who also rolled by, not knowing what to do but knowing that they can’t pick us up without NS people there. NS had left the tent, the check-in doohickies and even the generators going but removed ALL staff. No one in the station either, I might add.

    Today, we took the train to the busses, then to the usual drop off point (of course the driver also didn’t know where he was going as he went the wrong way down a one-way street in Naarden-Bussum, “mexican-standoff”-style). Did I mention he was going to skip dropping off/picking-up at NB station? People needed to tell him to stop…he didn’t know to.

    We jumped out at Weesp, as usual checked-out, checked-in, only to be met inside by NS staff telling us that there’re no trains either – now Weesp is also closed, until 25 August. News to us – so we rumble back ON the bus, now crowded and full of grumpy people, to be bussed to Muiderpoort.

    Except we don’t go there directly – we go via Diemen, but actually don’t GO to Diemen. The bus chauffeur drives through town, finds roads closed but decides to drive through the construction zone anyway (he doesn’t have any information from NS either, he tells us) and then mentions Muiderpoort – so someone on the bus directs him to Muiderpoort station…except he actually needed to go to Diemen as well. It’s genuinely unclear if the driver knew which route he needed to take, and he spent a lot of the time complaining about how the NS changes things and tells no-one. We make it to Muiderpoort, and then train to CS…total time, 2 hours. Usual time: 25 minutes.

    The NS seems to be full of people only considering their individual job, and not bothering to connect the dots. They abandon stations without notification outside of the app, and the constant refrain of workers there tend towards “I don’t know” or “Sorry…!” (basically, “screw you – I did what I needed to do”). Poor oversight, very poor customer service and no accountability, it appears.

    If I can avoid them in the future, I will. I’ll spend more money for an electric car now, just so I can drive (then tram) into the centre in the near future and avoid the NS altogether. NS: Not Smart.

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