ANP (NOS edit) The new public transport timetable comes into effect today in a large part of the Netherlands
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 06:01
Bus lines that no longer exist, vehicles in a different color and more train rides. Anyone who takes the metro, tram, train or bus in the coming days may need to pay close attention in advance. Today a new timetable comes into effect in a large part of the Netherlands.
While updated timetables in recent years led to reports of disappeared bus lines, fewer trains and poorer connections, things seem to be getting better for many public transport travelers in the coming year. The number of bus routes is still decreasing rather than increasing, many people are working from home and staff shortages have not been resolved, but the tide certainly seems to have turned on the railways.
1800 extra rides
For example, the largest carrier in the Netherlands, the Dutch Railways, is running more trains again. Travelers in the Randstad in particular benefit from this, because four intercity trains per hour run between the major cities, while in recent years there were often only two.
A direct train will also run between Amsterdam and Breda and the so-called ten-minute train between Arnhem – Amsterdam and Rotterdam will return. In total, the NS says it will run an additional 1,800 train rides per week in the new timetable, for a total of more than 22,000 rides.
The biggest changes on the railways, including those of regional rail carriers, are shown on this map:
NOSThe biggest changes in the new timetable on the railway
The entire new NS timetable can be found here. Other carriers are also adjusting rides from today, such as Arriva. In some areas this only happens from January, such as in Rotterdam. The summary of all changes can be read here.
The NS can deploy the extra trains because almost 1,500 conductors and drivers were hired last year. However, the carrier warns that the shortage on the labor market continues, meaning that on some rail routes a train will still run only once an hour during off-peak hours. The NS hopes to hire additional people for this in the near future.
The carrier does warn that trains can sometimes be shorter than travelers are used to. The rail carrier is faced with a major shortage of mechanics, which means that trains are sometimes not repaired on time and are therefore not allowed on the track.
It is striking that the extra NS journeys are mainly scheduled for Monday to Thursday. According to the carrier, there is hardly any rush hour on Fridays due to working from home. As a result, travelers will notice that there are fewer trains running on certain routes than before on certain routes that day.
The NS will not increase the prices for tickets for domestic trips next year. The cost of a train ticket remains the same as this year, because the outgoing cabinet has committed 120 million euros. This happened at the request of the majority of the House of Representatives. Initially, the NS was allowed to increase ticket prices by 6.5 percent.
Across the border by train
As far as train connections across the border are concerned, the train between Amsterdam and Berlin stands out. It will run a little faster from today. The train between the two capitals now takes just under six hours, previously it was half an hour longer. This is because the intercity skips some stations and it is no longer necessary to change locomotives in Germany. The latter in particular took a lot of time.
The train between Heerlen and Aachen will run more often, namely twice an hour. Later in 2024, the train should also continue to Liège in Belgium, making it a three-country train.
Traveling to London will become more complicated by train next year. From June next year, there will be no direct Eurostar from Amsterdam to London for six months due to work at Amsterdam Central station. It is not yet clear whether extra trains will run from Amsterdam to Brussels, where people will then have to transfer due to passport control.