Jobs threatened as NS cuts rail routes
25 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS intends to cut four unprofitable railway routes, placing hundreds of jobs at risk, it was reported Tuesday.
The NS will soon inform Transport State Secretary Melanie Schultz that it will cut the Hofpleinlijn between Rotterdam and The Hague, the Zoetermeerlijn, the Arnhem-Tiel line and the Geldermalsen-Dordrecht line from April 2005.
The lines are not profitable enough and NS Reizigers boardroom chief Pamela Boumeester said only a small number of passengers use the last two lines.
The NS is in principle waiting on approval from the Works Council, but it is expected to back the plans, news agency nu.nl reported.
State Secretary Schultz was recently warned by the NS that it would stop operating the four lines if the government did not agree to greater funding. But faced with government economising, Schultz refused to meet the demand.
The government compensates the NS for the exploitation of 23 unprofitable rail routes in total EUR 90 million per year. It has been agreed that all lines will be put out to tender, but only three routes have so far been offered up for privatisation.
Meanwhile, the NS confirmed on Tuesday that it will stop selling strippenkaarten at service desks from 1 January 2005. Instead, station kiosks will sell the tram, metro and bus tickets along with the usual supplies of drinks, food and confectionary.
[Copyright Expatica news 2004]
Subject: Dutch news