NS must run fewer trains in the future, says outgoing Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra on Thursday in response to the request for more state aid.

According to the minister, the timetable does not seem "financially viable in the long term".

Last year, NS made a loss of 2.6 billion euros, the largest loss in the 180-year history of the rail company.

The company has been hit hard by the corona crisis.

Far fewer people take the train and NS expects this to continue to affect the company for a few more years, especially since many people will continue to work from home on a structural basis.

Last year, the number of passenger kilometers was 55 percent smaller than usual.

The decrease in the number of business kilometers was even greater.

In order to be able to operate the current timetable this year and the new timetable from 2022, extra support from the government is needed, according to NS.

The company has so far received € 2.3 billion in state aid in the Netherlands and the UK, where the company is also active.

Financial CEO Bert Groenewegen said that NS is thinking of a support amount that can reach a maximum of 2 billion euros for the coming years, although that depends on a number of factors, such as how quickly passenger numbers will increase again.

Hoekstra reports that he is in talks about extra money for the railway company, but "it is up to the NS to make the organization financially healthy again in the long term".

The transporter must make its own decisions about phasing out the timetable, the minister emphasizes.

This is done in consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Hoekstra also thinks that NS should tighten its belt a little further.

The company has already started an austerity program of 1.4 billion euros, whereby 2,300 jobs will disappear without forced redundancies.

The minister thinks that NS should cut its expenditure even more, but does not mention any concrete measures.

Groenewegen said on Thursday that the 1.4 billion euros is the maximum the company can save without having to adjust the timetable.