Crowding on trains

Performance indicator

Realisation in 2017

Realisation in 2016

Minimum value for 2017

Target value for 2019

Seat availability on the main rail network*





Top ten crowded trains





  • *Changed values as a result of technical changes that have been implemented in the performance indicators

Passenger numbers grew by 0.8% in 2017, partly because of the upturn in the economy. That is why trains are getting increasingly overcrowded, especially in the traditionally busy autumn period. Trains are often also crowded at peak times. NS has been taking measures for this for some time. As a result, the number of complaints last autumn decreased compared to 2016. From the end of August until November, there was an external evaluation of the Transport Capacity Programme for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. This showed that NS has implemented all the agreed measures.

Seat availability at peak times on the main rail network

In 2017 passengers had the same chance of a seat as in 2016 (95.1%), despite the increased number of passengers. There were more trains available on the track in 2017, due for instance to more efficient maintenance and the influx of FLIRT trains. In 2017 we offered a record number of seats: 249,000 (2016: 245,000). To be able to accommodate further passenger growth, we will have to run more or longer trains on the busiest routes. In the timetable for 2018 we are running more trains on the Amsterdam-Eindhoven route, for example, increasing the capacity. On other routes with bottlenecks we are making the trains longer where possible. However, the number of passengers in some peak-hour trains is still growing while the trains have already reached their maximum length. We are also running up against the limits of the infrastructure, where not only platform length but also the space for shunting and coupling limits the deployability of trains. We are working on this with ProRail, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and regional authorities. We are tempting passengers to spread their journeys at peak times and travel on quieter trains at the start and end of the rush hour or outside it. We are doing this by informing passengers better about the expected crowding in the Journey Planner and by rewarding them for avoiding busy trains, for example via the My OV app that was expanded to 10 busy routes in 2017. You can save points for items such as coffee or a gift voucher.
In the top ten busiest trains, the crowding figure for 2017 was 2.4% (2.4% in 2016). This percentage is the probability of a passenger being unable to get a seat on one of the preselected ten busiest routes during the rush hour.