Travelers association Rover called on the province and municipalities in Noord-Holland to take action against the scaling down of train traffic in the north of the province. Among other things, NS wants to halve the intercity trips between Alkmaar and Amsterdam on Fridays so that they run once every half hour. The province acknowledged that accessibility would come further under pressure due to the Dutch rail company’s plans.
Elsewhere in the country, NS is trying to reverse restrictions caused by staff shortages last year. But that is not happening in Noord-Holland, according to Rover. The rush hour intercity between Alkmaar and Haarlem will not return, for example.
“If the NS plans go ahead, train passengers to Alkmaar will lose half their travel options on Friday morning, when the popular Alkmaar cheese market takes place,” said Ludolf Maat of Rover.
The passenger organization also believes that NS takes insufficient account of train traffic’s connection to other public transport. For example, ten different bus lines would no longer connect to the train in Alkmaar after the measure, and transfer from the north of the province in Alkmaar would take 15 minutes instead of only a few minutes.
Rover wants the province and the municipalities along the Den Helder-Alkmaar-Haarlem line to urge NS to review its plans. That would also benefit car traffic because traffic jams on the A9 would decrease if more people could opt for the train.
The province understands these are challenging times for NS but shares Rover’s concerns about not bringing back the rush-hour intercity between Alkmaar and Haarlem. A spokesperson for Deputy Jeroen Olthof called the fast connection essential to reduce pressure on the A9 highway. “The connection of bus lines, including around Beverwijk, will also come under pressure as a result.”
According to the spokesperson, NS asked the province to respond to the plans. She said the rail company could expect an official response at the start of September.
Reporting by ANP