WEEKDAY passenger numbers on Netherlands Railways (NS) services dropped by more than 55% in 2020 compared with 2019, with the decline wholly attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While NS carried an average of 1.35 million passengers per day in 2019, this dropped to 591,000 passengers in 2020, with the strongest decline during peak periods. NS identified the advice to remain 1.5m away from others and to work and study from home as the major contributors for the peak period decline.

Passenger numbers dropped to 15% of pre-pandemic levels during the introduction of strict lockdown measures to control the virus, with services levels also reduced. However, passenger numbers in January and February 2020, before the pandemic, were higher than the same period in 2019.

Passenger numbers are slowly beginning to recover, with NS reporting passenger numbers at 53% pre-pandemic levels during July. As NS expects the return of passengers to continue, the regular timetable has been reinstated along with night services. Peak services are still suspended, but may be reintroduced following the holiday season.