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Government commits to better train travel in the Netherlands02 April 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
The Dutch government has committed to a new agreement with public transport operators to improve train journeys in the Netherlands "from door to door."
In a statement, the government said that travellers in the Netherlands should be able to count on safe, reliable and predictable train journeys with good connections to tram, bus, metro and bicycles "at all times of the day, every day of the year, anywhere in the Netherlands."
Improving Dutch train services
The Netherlands has one of the busiest train systems in the world, with safe and mostly punctual trains. Nonetheless, the government, echoing the complaints of many train users, say the system’s performance must improve, especially at rush hour in the Randstad.
The government wants travellers to experience as few cancellations, long delays and "black days" (such as occurred in winter 2012) as possible. They also believe the introduction of the safety system ERTMS should further improve rail safety.
The proposal includes the ambitious plan to extend the number of trains in 2017 so that travellers can travel without needing to refer to a timetable. One of the first proposed changes is to run six intercity trains per hour between Amsterdam and Eindhoven.
In order to facilliate these improvements, a new partnership,"Network Netherlands," has been formed to ensure the country’s nine passenger rail companies, 20 freight companies, and the urban and regional carriers co-operate better with each other and with ProRail, with an emphasis on greater collaboration between provinces.
More energy efficient travel
A further aspect is reducing electicity use. Rail is one of the largest consumes of electricity in the Netherlands, and ProRail and the NS want to reduce their consumption of electricity by 25 per cent in 2017, when compared to 2012.
They plan to do this through making shops at stations more energy efficient, having smarter lighting overall and a greater ability to separate waste at stations.
Operators to be more socially responsible
Finally, the government wants the NS and ProRail to have a stronger focus on their public responsibilities. They said they wanted the companies to be more accountable to travellers for their experience on a daily basis and focus less on the average performance over a year.
Source: Government of the Netherlands