NS’s decision to scrap the timetable in the province of Noord-Holland has been met with widespread criticism from the region. Noord-Holland and 19 municipalities in the province sent a letter to the Dutch rail company NS, expressing their disappointment with the proposed changes.
The letter states that the new timetable is “yet another deterioration” at a time when public transportation is becoming increasingly important to cope with the growth in population and business activity. “We find this deterioration unacceptable,” they wrote.
The NS has already announced a number of austerity measures this summer, including reducing the number of intercity rides between Alkmaar and Amsterdam on Fridays by half.
The letter also criticizes the fact that people had to learn about the changes in the newspaper rather than being informed directly by the NS.
The province and municipalities had been in intensive consultations with NS and Connexxion, a public transport company operating in the province, on a “future-proof” public transport system, and are therefore particularly disappointed with the proposed changes. They are demanding that the rush-hour intercity between Alkmaar and Haarlem be restored.
“Bus connections no longer connect, the trip will take longer for many people, and the car will once again be a more attractive option for many,” said Deputy Jeroen Olthof, who is responsible for mobility and public transport in the province of Noord-Holland.
He has already expressed his displeasure to the NS and planned a meeting with NS CEO Wouter Koolmees to discuss the issue. “A discussion in which we hopefully take the first step to now really look together at public transport as a blank A4 and fill it in from what is needed. For example, with a Noord Holland Rail.”
Olthof hopes that the new Cabinet will work on a German-style public transport model “where residents can use virtually all public transport for a fixed monthly fee of around 50 euros.” A similar system is being developed in France.
At the beginning of August, travelers association Rover called on the province and municipalities in Noord-Holland to take action against the scaling down of train traffic in the north of the province. “If the NS plans go ahead, train passengers to Alkmaar will lose half their travel options on Friday morning, when the popular Alkmaar cheese market takes place,” said Ludolf Maat of Rover.