An Open Letter to the Management of NS
Dear Directors of NS,
I am both a taxpayer and a customer, and as both, I have become increasingly annoyed, agitated and aggrieved with the poor level of service one has come to expect from NS.
When things are “normal” and weather does not seem to be a factor in running a rail network, there is still never a single week that I do not suffer from a delay or cancellation in some way, shape or form. It is, sadly, something I have come to expect as part of the value added services you are providing me. Maybe it is the Dutch way of forcing its citizens to try and lose some weight from the excessive sandwiches they eat on your trains when commuting each morning, that by regular cancellations or delays you force us to walk or cycle home once in a while, because we cannot be arsed to wait a second longer on the cold, wet damp platforms of your stations.
But then you added an extra feature to your trains…more seats….in exchange for removing toilets on your trains. I know who to thank the next time I am on a train, which is stuck in the middle of the tracks, not moving (presumably because a wayward leaf blew onto the track necessitating a complete halt to the rail network while engineers plucked said leaf out of harms way) and I have that wonderful feeling of my bladder about to explode. I will be happy and content in the knowledge that I cannot do anything about it until we get to the station, because someone in their infinite wisdom thought it a good idea to remove the toilets from every carriage on your new rolling stock!
I guess I should feel good now that you’ve added more seats. It certainly justifies the exorbitant prices you charge, and continue to increase year after year. In fact, so clever are your boffins in accounting and legal, that you’ve found ways to circumvent the law to facilitate the increase of ticket prices twice a year, which clearly contradicts the agreement you made with the Dutch government when you became a semi-state company.
I especially feel like I am getting value for money now that the winter snows and frost have arrived. The fact that you were ever so considerate about my ability to get into work, or visit friends, during this savage winter weather by reducing the number of trains on the network was genius. The fact that your German neighbours, or countries like Russia, Ukraine and Finland have never felt the need to have to implement similar changes to their timetables matters not a jot to you, because you’ve really only got my needs in mind. It is so considerate, thank you.
But you know, I think it’s high time you perhaps stopped buying trains that cease to work when there’s a touch of frost or the occasional leaf on the line, like the new high-speed FYRA trains. Afterall, the Russian’s and Ukrainians have been managing quite well for quite some time without any hiccups. Oh, and changing those “defrosters” at the points which run on a gas burner with a pilot light that’s snuffed out with a heavy snowfall is about a decade too late. Ze Germans changed those same problematic gas ones with electric heaters already back in the late 1990’s!
I’ve included a video (please see above) which demonstrates how the New Zealanders (related to you Cloggies, no?) are able to get around by train in the snow. Perhaps, along with your over-paid salaries, you guys might be able to cobble together a budget for a fun-in-the-sun fact finding mission to New Zealand to find out more. Don’t worry…..I’ll cover the costs of the trip with my higher fares later this year.