Punctuality in a busy railway network
A comparison of punctuality relative to occupancy in 18 countries shows that NS is in the top 3. The Netherlands has shared the top spot for many years now with Switzerland, with Japan and Austria both also achieving high levels of punctuality on heavily congested tracks. The figures have not been updated yet for 2019 as not all the data from the other operators were available.
The number of train-kilometres is the total volume of traffic on the railways (number of trains multiplied by the distance they cover). The number of route-kilometres is the length of the tracks.
NS works to continuously improve its performance. To that end, we also use benchmarking as a tool to help us learn from other railway companies. NS is eager to learn from the experiences of its peers in operational management and to identify any opportunities to apply the lessons learned in its own operations.
Earlier benchmarks revealed that despite the extremely busy railway network, the punctuality of NS trains is above average. NS is also in the vanguard in terms of sustainability. Its productivity levels are high while customers pay fares that are around the average, even though NS does not receive subsidies. Thanks to its high customer satisfaction scores, NS is among the top 3 for most aspects within its peer group. This can be attributed to such factors as high punctuality, improvements at many of its stations and the introduction of new rolling stock. Further studies have also identified the management focus on punctuality for passengers as a crucial factor. On busier routes, NS's policy is to cancel more trains with relatively few passengers to ensure that the more crowded trains do arrive on time. This ensures maximum punctuality for as many passengers as possible.
Although the benchmark study for 2019 has not yet been finalised, we expect that the results will be included in the midterm review that the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will send to the Lower House of Dutch Parliament in 2020.
NS uses the RepTrak method of the Reputation Institute to monitor its reputation over time. As such, NS receives monthly analyses of its reputation in the Netherlands. Scores have consistently improved every year since 2015, with 2019 showing a record score of 65.9. The figure is derived by averaging the scores over four three-month periods. This rising trend is also reflected in a range of other indicators. Those that appear to have the most significant positive influence on our reputation are improved operational performance and high customer satisfaction rates. Media volume was marginally higher compared with 2018, but the downward trend in social media volume persisted, resulting in a slightly more negative sentiment. In terms of news coverage, the greatest impact in 2019 came from an attack on a tram near Utrecht CS (March), a strike among NS staff (May), the debate on enforcement by NS of the burka ban (September) and the search for a person suspected of committing a violent assault on a female NS guard in Breda (November). Another issue that attracted a great deal of media coverage was the decision to compensate Holocaust survivors and survivors' relatives. The improvement of NS's reputation was also discussed in the MT (Management Team) magazine. In their annual MT500 list, NS ended up in 7th place (2018: 88th).