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Our strategy

During the Formula 1 weekend in Zandvoort, NS operates a special timetable, deploying more than 300 extra employees.

'Together, we are making the Netherlands accessible in a sustainable manner – for everyone.’ That is the mission of NS, and the compass for our strategy for 2020-2025 and subsequent years. The focus of our strategy is on transitioning NS towards a broadly oriented mobility company.

With our trains and stations serving as the backbone of our business, we aim to ensure a smooth and comfortable door-to-door journey for all our passengers. Our stations are mobility and liveability hubs, and with our NS App we offer our passengers an attractive, personalised and user-friendly tool to assist them throughout the process, from planning and booking the journey to paying the fare. The success of this transition depends on our effective collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, ProRail, other carriers, non-central authorities and other partners.

Major challenges

Our mission and our strategy are our guides in everything we do as an organisation. Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, public transport has come under pressure in recent years. Our strategy had prepared us for growth in passenger numbers; it had not prepared us for falling passenger numbers, nor for a dramatic increase in energy prices, soaring inflation, persistent pressure on our operational performance, falling work satisfaction and vitality rates, and a structural shortage of employees. The cumulative effect of these developments means that we have to work fast to get the basics in order again. Our longer-term perspective remains focused on a broad range of world-class mobility services - but in this new context.

Getting the basics in order

In the years ahead, we will tackle these challenges to ensure optimum service for all our passengers. In doing so, we will prioritise efforts to improve work satisfaction rates among our colleagues, reduce staff shortages and design and realise a timetable to match the changing needs of our passengers.

Robust services

We aim to offer reliable and predictable train services that are perfectly attuned to passenger needs. NS employees have an eye for passengers and their needs, provide the services that passengers expect and are available where they can contribute most. We intend to use passenger data and technology to further improve our services and personal safety.

A proud and healthy workforce

During the COVID-19 period we made significant demands on our people. The workload weighed increasingly heavily on an ever smaller group. We want all NS employees to be proud of their work and of NS, to be able to contribute all their talents and skills and to feel happier in their jobs. We want to attract and retain high-quality professionals and ensure we have enough of them to offer an excellent passenger product.

Smart strategies for attracting passengers to trains and stations

Using relevant products we intend to respond as effectively as possible to new passenger needs and travel patterns. Agreements to spread passenger numbers, new products and services and dynamic pricing will help us attract more passengers and encourage them to travel outside peak hours.

A financially healthy organisation

We want to be able to offer affordable journeys for everyone. At the same time, we wish to be a financially healthy business with sufficient scope for investment to continue serving the public interest.

Ready for the future

In addition to preparing for short-term challenges, we will continue to work towards our ambitions for the longer term, guided by our central mission: 'Together, we are making the Netherlands accessible in a sustainable manner – for everyone’.

Improving the national and international railway networks

In collaboration with our partners we strive to further improve the railway network. This ambition does not stop at the national border. By contributing to an improved booking system and increasing the frequencies of services to metropolitan areas abroad, we will help the train become the preferred and most logical option for distances of up to 700 kilometres.

Developing a broad range of mobility options

The NS App for passengers provides access to our range of door-to-door travel options across the Netherlands. It serves as a in one-stop shop where passengers can plan, book and pay for their journey. As a broad-based mobility company, we keep the Netherlands accessible in a sustainable manner by also selling supplementary mobility services, such as our own public transport bicycle system and our partners’ services.

Stations as sustainable mobility hubs and pleasant places to stay

Together with ProRail, we invest in our stations to develop them into sustainable mobility hubs that contribute to a pleasant environment. Our stations are open and welcoming locations where passengers end or start their train journey or change trains effortlessly, and where they like to go to enjoy excellent facilities such as our own retail formulas and our Station Living Rooms (StationsHuiskamers).

Innovation, digitalisation and data-driven operations

We use data to improve processes and make sure we take the right decisions. Our use of data is based on an improved, cyber-secure and affordable IT and data infrastructure. To that end, NS is upgrading existing IT systems and phasing out or replacing obsolete ones in time. In addition, we want to use technologies such as virtual reality and AI for the benefit of our colleagues and to improve the travel experience of our passengers.

Increasing the socio-economic impact of NS

NS is an essential player in the Dutch approach to combating climate change. The more travellers opt for the train, the more CO2 emissions the country will be able to avoid. In addition, we are making our own chain more sustainable by adopting zero-emission, green and circular business practices wherever this is possible. However, our impact extends much further than the climate. We aspire to be a company of and for the Netherlands as a whole: a business that reflects all parts of society, where everybody feels at home and nobody feels excluded.

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