The Dutch Railways (NS) will come up with new subscriptions for commuters after the summer that take into account that they will work from home more often, the railway company reports on Friday in an explanation of the half-year figures.
With the new season tickets, NS wants to accommodate commuters who only go to work a few days a week for the time being. “At the moment it is still the case that it is less advantageous if travelers only use their subscription for two or three days,” explains an NS spokesperson. “We want to move towards subscriptions that are better suited to more home working.”
NS is also in talks with education and large business customers to better spread travelers. “Staggered travel is essential for an increase in the number of travelers,” says president-director Roger van Boxtel. “Due to different travel behavior and economic contraction, it is expected that passenger numbers will only return to the level of 2019 after 2024”, says the outgoing NS CEO.
State aid keeps financial damage limited
NS made a net loss of 185 million euros in the first half of this year as a result of the corona crisis. Turnover actually increased and rose by 162 million euros to 3.3 billion euros. But that was thanks to financial injections from the Dutch State (351 million) and the British government (703 million euros).
With normal business activities, mainly running the trains, NS achieved a negative result of 52 million euros. “The cause of the negative result is the enormous drop in passenger numbers due to COVID-19, especially in the Netherlands”, according to NS.
Great uncertainty about the number of travelers
But also in the UK and Germany, where NS also has concessions, the passenger flow decreased sharply. “There is great uncertainty about the development of the number of travelers as a result of COVID-19 in both the short and long term,” the transport company said. Due to the high degree of uncertainty, NS has not yet depreciated the license to drive on the main network.
NS has already warned that it could amount to 2 billion euros.
In the Netherlands, NS achieved 467 million euros in revenue from train travel. The activities at the stations, such as retail and the public transport bicycle, yielded more than 72 million euros less.
At the end of July, NS announced that a reorganization is inevitable. As a result, 2,300 jobs are expected to disappear.