New NS train timetable set for initial problems
6 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS will switch to a new timetable on Sunday but the changeover is not expected to occur without problems.
6 December 2006
AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS will switch to a new timetable on Sunday but the changeover is not expected to occur without problems.
The NS said on Wednesday it is inevitable that problems will occur in such a large operation.
It said commuters and NS staff will need time to adjust to the new train times.
But to restrict the problems, the NS will operate with extra staff and equipment in the first few days.
A daily evaluation will also be made to quickly respond to any concerns.
With the slogan 'More, easy and reliable' (Meer, gemakkelijk en betrouwbaar), the NS has unveiled the new timetable on its website www.ns.nl.
"The train traveller gets more choice and stopover possibilities. It will be easier to remember the departure times due to a clearer travel scheme: a train every 15 minutes," the NS said.
"Moreover, services will be more reliable with this new service timetable."
The big question is whether there will be sufficient trains and staff to carry out the new timetable. An extra 200 train journeys will be made, requiring 55 extra drivers.
Unions have already warned for a lack of staff. The NS is also fearful of complaints from commuters about too short and overly full trains. It has opted to deploy extra trains to ward off anticipated problems.
Extra staff have been trained in recent months, some of whom have come from freight transport and bus company Arriva.
Under the new timetable, the NS will operate with intercities that only stop at the larger stations and smaller sprint trains that stop everywhere. The stop trains will disappear from the timetable.
By using two different types of train journeys, the NS hopes to deploy more trains per hour over the same network.
The Schiphol tunnel has been used as the timetable base. The number of trains that can run through the tunnel determines how much capacity there is on the rest of the rail network. The tunnel is the aorta of the Dutch railway system.
Unions believe that Monday will not be a good indication of whether the new timetable will work because many people will depart an hour earlier than normal or take the car on the timetable's 'first' day.
They suggest instead that it will only be known in about two weeks time if the new system works.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news