To keep rail travel attractive, we are investing in forms of transport that complement the train. This helps us ensure a pleasant journey to and from the station and make the door-to-door journey more convenient.
Around 45% of rail passengers cycle to the station. They are able to use supervised parking facilities for 193,500 bicycles, unsupervised facilities for more than 306,000 bicycles and 11,400 bicycle lockers at stations. ProRail and NS Stations are working with partners to develop bicycle parking facilities where rail passengers can store their bikes easily and conveniently. Our offering includes free storage for every first 24-hour period (at 64 parking facilities), digital pointers to the free storage slots, the option of paying with the OV-chipkaart, and a uniform design. In 2020 we opened eight new bicycle parking facilities, including at Den Haag CS (7,000 spaces), Tilburg Noordzijde (3,900 spaces) and Zwolle (5,800 spaces).
Bicycle lanes and check-in/check-out posts
In 2020, NS Stations ran a pilot project in the bicycle parking facilities stations in Breda and Harderwijk, introducing an entrance system featuring bicycle lanes and check-in/check-out posts. The new system enables passengers to park their bicycles even faster and more conveniently than before, using their OV-chipkaart or a chip on the bike. There is a customer-friendly contactless payment option for bicycles parked for more than 24 hours. The evaluation of the pilot has shown that passengers greatly appreciate this service. The intention is to build bicycle lanes and install check-in/check-out posts at ten bicycle parking facilities in 2021.
Fiets & Service
Fiets & Service is a service format for bicycle repairs, parts and accessories. At the end of 2020, 28 stations had a total of 32 Fiets & Service centres.
In 2020, passengers made 3.1 million rides by OV-fiets (public transport bicycles), compared with 5.3 million in 2019. In all, over 21,700 public transport bicycles are available at 305 locations throughout the country; around 1,700 more bicycles than in 2019. Customer satisfaction scores with OV-fiets stabilised around an average of 8.1 out of 10 (2019: 8.1). We continued consultations with public authorities and ProRail on the space required for OV-fiets in bicycle parking facilities.
2020 saw a successful pilot project with a new lock for public transport bicycles that can be opened and closed using the OV-chipkaart. The rental period starts the moment the bicycle is unlocked, and ends the moment the user returns the bicycle to the facility and locks it. In 2021, passengers will find public transport bicycles with this new lock at all staffed OV-fiets distribution points. The development of new unstaffed OV-fiets distribution points is currently under way.
Over 5% of rail passengers travel to the station by car and park there. In 2020, NS Stations itself expanded P+R capacity at two stations, namely at Brummen (total overhaul, 50 parking spaces) and Zwolle (new, 209 parking spaces). We also invested in equipment at another nine locations. In addition, 2020 saw the installation of a new parking system based on number plate recognition at P+R locations with barriers. Users appreciate the speed and the extra convenience. Rail passengers benefit from a discount on the parking rate. Following this successful pilot, the nationwide roll-out of the new system started in September. We expect to be able to install the new system at all 54 P+R locations with a barrier in 2021.
Passengers could make use of NS Zonetaxi at a total of 328 stations in 2020. Online booking and prepayment facilities (with iDEAL) have made it even easier to arrange a zone taxi.
Pilot in NS Lab App involving other forms of transport
In 2020, NS started facilitating other forms of transport (electric scooters, electric cars etc.) in Rotterdam, aimed at developing seamless door-to-door journeys for passengers. In this pilot, the NS Lab App is used to offer passengers a choice from several means of transport. Passengers who register and book their journey via this app qualify for a discount for those additional options. The pilot, which is continuing in 2021, is being conducted in cooperation with four providers. It is a way for us to assess the potential of new forms of transport as part of an integrated door-to-door journey, and gain technical experience with connecting different parties and processes such as planning, booking and payment.
Mobility policy for employers
On 3 December, NS took over a Belgian IT company named Vaigo. As a result, before long business clients of NS will have access to a new platform for pursuing a sustainable and flexible staff mobility policy. The platform can be linked to their payroll records systems and offers easy tools to set and manage travel budgets for staff members, who will be able to choose their preferred public transport options.