MPs attack NS for lowering its targets

1st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

1 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament have reacted angrily to the decision by Dutch rail company NS to reduce its targets for serving the public this year.

1 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament have reacted angrily to the decision by Dutch rail company NS to reduce its targets for serving the public this year.

The Labour Party's Sharon Dijksma demanded on Wednesday that junior transport minister, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, step in to prevent the NS from moving the goal posts.

Last year 84.8 percent of trains ran on time, compared with 86 percent in 2004. The target for 2005 was 86.5 percent. NS is to aim this year for a slightly lower target - 86 percent. Between 87 and 89 percent of services have to run on schedule in 2007.

NS aims to provide 27 percent of passengers information about delays in trains. This rises to 31 percent in 2010. NS failed to meet last year's target of 35 percent.

Last year NS hoped to inform 85 percent of passengers on platforms about delays, but again this target was not met. NS has reduced the target for this year to 79 percent and said it will try to hit 35 percent in 2010.

The rail company argues that the need for large-scale maintenance of its rolling stock and the weather impact on its abilities to meet its targets. The new regulation that all carriage doors must be closed before a train departs also slow things up.

MP Eddy van Hijum said the company was entitled to make a profit but it also had to invest more money to improve the service it provides. "The passenger is not sufficiently central," he said.

The green-left party GroenLinks said the minister had to needle the company to do better and keep them to the targets. "If they don't, they should buzz off," MP Wijnand Duyvendak said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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