Government imposes fine on Dutch Railways
Dutch traffic Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen has imposed a conditional two-million-euro fine on the Dutch national railways NS for not meeting performance standards last year.
The fine was imposed because too many trains suffered delays and also because of widespread dissatisfaction among travellers about a general lack of accurate information during disruptions and a lack of seating during rush hour. "Travellers must be able to count on a reliable train service. That is the agreement I have with the NS and I will hold it to that agreement.”
The minister said she may decide to let NS off the hook if it improves its performance in 2011. She said the conditional fine was intended as an incentive to improve performance. The 1.8-million-euro fine imposed for 2009 has been reduced to a definitive amount of 500,000 euros because NS improved its performance. The definitive amount of the fine for 2010 will be decided early next year. Minister Schultz van Haegen says she wants to change the current system of conditional fines to one in which fines must be paid immediately.
Under the terms of the performance between NS and the government, at least 93 percent of all trains must run on time. An NS spokesperson said the rail company found in January that only 92.5 percent of all trains had experienced no delays. The main cause of NS’ failure to meet performance standards was the unusually cold winter season. And a fire at a traffic control centre in Utrecht on 19 November caused extensive disruptions to rail traffic.
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