The NS thinks that it will take five years before the rail company will transport the same number of passengers again as before the corona crisis . Therefore, a loss of 4.7 billion euros in income will be taken into account in the coming years, according to the NS on Friday in a press release.
Most of the expected revenue loss is due to a contraction in the number of passengers carried. Bert Groenewegen, financial director at the NS, says in conversation with NRC that passengers will not immediately travel by train again when the virus is over.
"Commuting will change. The number of e-bikes cannot be dragged on. Many companies are now gaining good experiences with working from home and video calling. Higher education will also be arranged more remotely," Groenewegen says about traveler behavior.
The Dutch Railways has recently attempted to predict what the coming years will look like through passenger surveys and scenarios from the Central Planning Board (CPB). "In our forecast, we will be 7 percent below the level of 2019 in 2024. We think that we will only reach 1.3 million travelers per day in 2025, the number before the crisis," Groenewegen said.
Getting smaller without being fired
Groenewegen states in NRC that, despite the loss of income, no layoffs will take place for the time being. "Our starting point is getting smaller without being made redundant. That requires us to talk to employees about new positions or locations." That is why the NS wants to talk to the Participation Council and the unions.
The railway company emphasizes that an "affordable train ticket" is paramount in the measures still to be taken. "NS cannot and will not pass the losses on to the passenger by increasing the price of the train ticket," says the carrier. "NS wants to make every effort to keep the train attractive, with a pleasant responsible travel experience as the Netherlands was used to before the corona crisis."
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