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Measures in the train

We have taken various measures to ensure the safety of passengers and staff.

  • The government made face masks compulsory with effect from 1 June. Public transport was the first public space (and, for a long time, remained one of the few public spaces) in the Netherlands where people were required to wear a face mask.

  • Inside our trains, we used green stickers to indicate the places where passengers could take a seat. All seats have been available again since 1 July. The stickers were meant as an aid for people to keep 1.5 metres apart as much as possible. To protect our train guards, most of the stickers pointed to window seats. We started removing the stickers in December, making the passengers themselves responsible again and giving them more freedom to choose a seat.

  • We also ask passengers to hold their tickets in front of the main guard's scanner themselves.

  • During regular cleaning we devote special attention to contact points such as door handles and headrests.

  • Train toilets now have an extra supply of soap and paper towels.

  • The NS Travel Assistance process has been adapted in a number of respects, including the use of lifts and special walking routes for persons with reduced mobility.

  • From 12 June to 1 July, passengers could not take their bikes on our trains. Passengers who intend to do so are now asked to register their journey in the Treinwijzer in advance.

Measures at the stations

In collaboration with ProRail, we also took measures at the stations to ensure they remained clean and safe for passengers and staff alike.

  • In the stations, on the platforms, in the waiting areas etc. everybody is required to observe social distancing.

  • At the stations, stickers with pictograms indicate prescribed routes and show passengers how to keep a safe distance from others. We use the ‘nudging’ method, stimulating passengers to follow the desired route automatically.

  • We show video clips with the coronavirus rules based on RIVM guidelines on 8 large and 15 smaller screens at 16 stations. The clips were also shown on the displays inside the trains. This was supported by audio messages at the railway stations and in the trains.

  • Staff were specially tasked with welcoming passengers at the station and reminding them of the coronavirus rules.

  • We installed mobile disinfection stands at several stations and in station shops, and coughing screens in shops and OV Service Shops.

  • We deployed crowd-control staff at several stations to encourage passengers to spread and social distance.

  • During regular cleaning there was a special focus on contact surfaces.

  • In line with the nationwide obligation to wear face masks in public spaces, since 1 December face masks have been compulsory at the stations and on the platforms. Before that date, we already urgently advised passengers and staff to wear face masks.

  • We joined and supported our tenants in the effort to keep shops at the station open for as long as possible, given their important contribution to the atmosphere at the station.

Code of conduct for NS employees

Our first-line staff, including guards, Safety & Service officials, train drivers, mechanics, retail staff and service staff, have been on the front line of the pandemic from day one. Since then, work procedures in our trains, stations and workshops have changed. For several jobs we have drawn up ‘perspectives for action’, with job-specific instructions on such things as the use of personal protective equipment, what to do in the event of an incident and advice on work procedures in light of COVID-19. The perspectives for action are regularly updated.
In addition to support tools and tips on working from home and how to stay fit mentally and physically, NS offers a range of other practical facilities. These include COVID-19 fast-track tests for colleagues who work on the trains, in rolling stock management, at the stations or in our workshops. Our priority here is to safeguard the health and well-being of our people.
In principle, all NS office staff have been working from home since March 2020. While our offices have been adapted to the new ‘1.5 metre distance society', working from home will, for the time being, remain the norm. By providing screens, office chairs, ICT facilities and the like, NS does whatever it can to support working from home. At the same time, we have developed a range of initiatives to maintain a strong sense of community among all our staff.

Studies: rail travel is safe

Studies by Deutsche Bahn, the Rail Safety & Standards Board and the International Union of Railways (UIC) have shown that thanks to the measures taken, rail travel is safe. For example, the studies have revealed that trains are not sources of contamination, and that the risk of infection for on-board staff who have many contacts with passengers is not demonstrably higher than average.

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