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Seat availability

This indicator presents the chance that a passenger has a seat throughout the journey if he or she boards at peak times. In 2022, seat availability on the main rail network at peak times was 96.6% (2021: 99.6%). After two coronavirus crisis years with seat availability scores of practically 100% due to a combination of very low passenger numbers and a fairly limited reduction of the timetable, most passengers returned in the spring of 2022. In response, we scaled up the timetable. However, from May 2022 staff shortages forced us to operate fewer and shorter trains, resulting in less transport capacity. In September, peak-hour seat availability was relatively low (91.2%) due to ad hoc train cancellations and shorter trains combined with increasing passenger numbers. We implemented an adjusted timetable from October and improved our train deployment planning, thus creating the space needed to operate longer trains during peak times. Due to these measures, seat availability climbed to more than 95% in Q4, which is more than 1% in excess of the level in the autumn of 2019. The long-term adjustment has been optimised in our timetable for 2023.

Staff shortages also left their mark on peak-hour seat availability on the high-speed line: 98.0% (2021: 99.9%). The second quarter saw a temporary fall in the frequency of peak-hour trains on the high-speed line (three per hour). This explains the relatively low seat availability figure for this period, despite the lower passenger numbers. In the second half of the year, the KPI score improved despite the return of peak-hour passengers, after NS had increased peak-hour capacity on the busiest high-speed section between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Rotterdam from three to five peak-hour trains per hour. This meant that most passengers were able to find a seat even at peak times.

Number of crowded peak-hour trains per working week

This indicator measures the number of weekly peak-hour trains in which all seats are occupied and four passengers per square metre are standing on the balconies. The figure for 2022 was 51 (2021: 4). In early 2022, hardly any peak-hour trains qualified as crowded. However, the gradual increase in passenger numbers at peak times and worsening staff shortages meant that the number of crowded peak-hour trains increased. In September we were not yet able to address those staff shortages effectively, given that the passenger numbers varied strongly from train to train. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in particular, relatively large numbers of trains qualified as crowded. We improved our timetable and our train deployment planning in October, thus creating the space needed to operate longer trains during peak times.
For the rest, crowded trains occurred particularly in connection with incidents involving trains that were crowded already. Think of unanticipated passenger flows and operational problems such as disrupted train services, and resulting deviations from regular train deployment levels.

Performance indicator

Realisation in 2022

Realisation in 2021

Minimum value for 2022

Seat availability at peak times (main rail network)




Seat availability on HSL at peak time




Number of crowded trains at peak times per working week




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