NS passenger service returns to profits
23 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — The passenger division of Dutch rail operator NS recorded a profit in 2004, the first positive result for the company's most important activity in four years.
23 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — The passenger division of Dutch rail operator NS recorded a profit in 2004, the first positive result for the company's most important activity in four years.
The number of passengers rose last year for the first time in three years, contributing to a 1.8 percent increase in the number of kilometres that passengers travelled. Costs remained relatively stable.
Due also to ticket price rises, increased sales of season tickets and successful foreign operations, the rail company's passenger division recorded EUR 49 million in profit last year. This is in contrast to the EUR 37 million loss recorded in 2003, news agency ANP reported.
The combined NS year-end result also showed a profit, with sales of food and drinks at stations also performing well. The rail operator described 2004 as a successful year, asserting that its "financial recovery" was on course.
But the EUR 32 million profit the NS recorded last year was about half of what it reported in 2003. This was due to a change in legislation forcing the NS to pay more tax. Otherwise, profits would have amounted to EUR 81 million last year.
NS chief Aad Veenman was pleased with the result, especially the improving satisfaction of commuters. Two-thirds of commuters gave the NS performance a rating of seven out of 10, compared with 55 percent of passengers in 2003.
The higher satisfaction rating was primarily due to increased punctuality. A total of 86 percent of trains ran on time last year, 3 percent more than in 2003, news service NOS reported.
The NS said it will be a challenge to continue that trend in coming years, with rail network authority ProRail planning a large amount of necessary track maintenance works in coming years.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news