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Dutch rail operator NS investing in cycling

NS Annual Report 2018 Web

To attract more customers, Dutch railway operator NS is investing in better bicycle storage, service, and rentals.

Earlier this month, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, released its 2018 annual report. Reflecting the central role cycling plays in connecting Dutch train users with both their origin and destination, it highlights several areas where NS is investing in bicycle storage, service, and rentals. These are viewed as critical components of the door-to-door journey, each of which increase rail ridership (and revenue) by attracting more customers to the network. Most notably, 2018 marked its tenth year of operating OV Fiets, the national bicycle rental system—and an important last-mile solution—which grew from 500,000 to 4.2 million annual rentals over that period of time.

Here are some highlights of that report:

Seamless travel

No one travels by train alone. A journey usually starts by bike, sometimes on foot, by car or other public transportation. The final destination is also rarely the station itself. For the latter part, there is a rental bicycle, the bus, or a shared car. To keep the train attractive, we invest in transportation that is a good complement to the train. This way, we make the journey before and after the train pleasant, and contribute to a seamless door-to-door journey.

Bicycle parking

Approximately 45% of train travelers arrive at the station by bicycle. They have access to 143,000 guarded bike parking spaces, more than 317,000 unguarded spaces, and 12,500 bicycle lockers at the stations. ProRail and NS Stations, together with partners, are developing bicycle parking facilities where train travelers can park their bicycles in an easy and pleasant way. They include: first 24-hours-free parking in 60 bicycle parking facilities, digital reference to free places, use of the public transport chip card, and a uniform appearance. In 2018, NS Stations and ProRail agreed with various municipalities to offer these services in the bicycle parking facilities at their stations. In addition, we opened new bicycle parking facilities in 2018 at the stations of Maastricht, Utrecht Central, Amsterdam South, and Assen. We have expanded the bicycle parking facility in Leeuwarden.

Self-service bicycle storage

In 2018, 44 bicycle parking facilities at stations were converted into the new self-service bicycle parking concept. The parking facilities have a new entrance with transparent gates. For the first 24 hours, cyclists can park their bikes for free with their OV chip card. Where necessary, bicycle racks have been added, lighting has been improved and repairs have been carried out. In Kampen, due to a lack of space at ground level, an old basement has been converted into a new self-service bicycle shed with 235 extra bicycle parking places. The municipality and province have co-financed this renovation of the basement.

Bicycle & Service

In 2018 we opened a Bicycle & Service at Maastricht, Apeldoorn, Zutphen, Assen and Nijmegen stations. The Bicycle & Service branch Breda Center side has been discontinued, there is still a Bicycle & Service on the Belcrum side. Bicycle & Service is a formula for bicycle repair, bicycle parts and bicycle accessories. In total there were 24 stations with Bike & Service at the end of 2018.

OV Fiets

In 2018, passengers made 4.2 million journeys (2017: 3.1 million) on the public transport bicycle. We recycled around 1,000 public transport bicycles in 2018 and expanded the number of bicycles by 6,000 to meet growing customer demand. This brings the total of public transport bicycles at the end of 2018 to 22,500.

On January 1, 2018 it was 10 years ago that NS took over the public transport bicycle service. To this end, we organized a conference in which we looked back with partners such as ProRail, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, municipalities and provinces, business relations, former foundation directors and (former) colleagues and looked ahead to the future of shared bicycles, the movement from ownership to use and the developments around bicycle parking and OV Fiets.

To read the full report, please click here.

For advice on bike-train multi-modality, please contact us, and we'll gladly connect you to our network of expert members.

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