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Prices on Dutch train tickets to rise09 September 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
NS will increase the price of train tickets next year by 3,4 per cent, according to a recent statement by the Dutch railway company. This will affect fares for one-way and return tickets and travel cards such as Traject Vrij, aimed at business travellers.
According to NS, two per cent of the increase is inflation correction, while one per cent is required to pay the extra 50 million euros a year the government will be charging them from 2015 to use the tracks.
The remaining 0,38 per cent is for the so-called double step rate, charged when users travel with different carriers. This percentage will go to the regional carriers as compensation for price shocks arising from solving the problem of changing carriers.
This price rise will be in addition to price rises that have seen buses and trams in the Netherlands become much more expensive.
NS want to spread the costs of the increased track usage charge over three years through raising ticket prices. Public transport consumer organisation Beter OV says that consumers already have to bear too much of the increased infrastructure costs.
A spokesman for Beter OV said that NS is unclear about the percentage by which the total trip rates will increase due to the higher usage costs.
"According to its 2012 annual report, NS received 3877 million euros in passenger revenue. Fifty million euros of this amount is 1,28 per cent."
"When this rate is divided equally over three years, that is an increase of slightly more than 0,4 per cent for 2014, instead of the proposed 1 per cent."
Students and seniors
There are also concerns over potential prices rises for students and seniors. Student union LSVB said that while the government currently subsidises student travel with NS, if that subsidy is abolished, as has been discussed, then students would find it even harder to pay for public transport.
Beter OV’s concern is that NS plans to increase the cost of senior tickets for the first time since 2006 by 75 per cent, far above the approximately 16 per cent inflation for the period.