Dutch will have to book train to Brussels in advance

On Tuesday, the Dutch railway company NS announced that traveling by Benelux train between Brussels and Amsterdam or trains to Germany will become less flexible during summer.

Passengers will no longer have the choice of which train to board; they will only be able to take the train for which they bought a ticket. According to the company, the measure is necessary to manage the expected summer crowds.

Fewer cheap tickets available

The adjustment concerns the cheap tickets (Early Bird rate) for the IC train between Brussels and Amsterdam. NS emphasizes that the tickets will not become more expensive and that nothing changes for other types of tickets. Although, there will be fewer cheap tickets available.

The change takes effect from June 11th. Measures are also being taken between other countries. For example, Dutch train travelers who want to travel to Belgium or Germany this summer will have to reserve a seat in advance, NS announced.

Overcrowded trains

NS opted for this policy in response to last summer. Last year, a record number of people booked an international trip with NS. Unfortunately, the crowds led to significant problems.

Often, there was no seating and overcrowded trains sometimes had to skip stations. In addition, there were considerably fewer trains due to staff shortages.

‘Discouraging train use’

The Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB, the Cyclists’ Union (Fietsersbond), and Dutch consumer organizations, among others, deplore the measure. “NS seems to focus on discouraging train use,” they say. “Those measures make international train travel much less attractive.”


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