Cooperation with our partners
Our ambition is to maintain the sustainable accessibility of the Netherlands for everyone. In order to achieve this aim, we have partnerships with a range of organisations, government authorities and companies. It is essential for us to cooperate effectively and to be clear about what we need from one another.
Government authorities at every level are important to us. As our shareholder, the Ministry of Finance is involved in determining the strategy of NS and ensuring that NS remains not only relevant to society but also financially healthy. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management determines national policy on traffic and transport, including public transport, as well as setting the infrastructure investment calendar on behalf of central government. This ministry is also the party that grants us our concession to operate. In addition, the government has to take the lead in relation to investments. While performance on the track has risen by an above-average level in recent years, investments in public transport still lag behind our neighbouring countries. Such investments will be needed to increase the number of people travelling by public transport, achieve our climate goals, strengthen the economy and make transport safer and more comfortable. These investments will deliver multiple benefits to society and may be funded partially with the help of the private sector.
ProRail is responsible for maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure and building new infrastructure. It is essential for ProRail to perform well, so that NS can maintain and improve its own performance. In order to allow more trains to operate in the future, we are coordinating more effectively with ProRail on the offering of trains and infrastructure requirements, as well as identifying where we can make better use of infrastructure and how to increase capacity through investment.
At the station
NS and ProRail work in partnership on the day-to-day operation and development of stations. At stations without facilities, NS examines whether there is scope to open a Kiosk or to work with local businesses and other partners to open a comfortable waiting room where coffee can be purchased. In this connection we always consult local government, for instance in order to offer opportunities to local businesses or people excluded from the employment market.
In the region
Besides good connections at national level, it is also crucial for us to provide more high-density, high-frequency connections in urban areas as well as customised solutions for less busy regions. These efforts require close cooperation between provinces, municipalities, businesses and transport companies. NS contributes its expertise in order to meet the challenges of mobility and urban planning in the most effective way possible. In the country's four biggest cities it is also crucial to work in partnership with the city's own transport companies.
We want to work with the rail providers in our neighbouring countries to achieve our international ambitions to improve the offering of Thalys, IC Brussel, Eurostar and IC Berlijn/ICE. From door to door, NS wants to offer travellers plenty of freedom to decide on the right mode of transport at the right time. Where possible this will involve our own services, but we will also engage other providers too. For instance, we are going to be working with partners to offer car sharing schemes in stations in regional areas.
To offer the best connections, you need to look beyond public transport. The Netherlands doesn't just face major mobility challenges during rush hour on its railways, but also on its roads and cycle routes. In order to tackle these challenges, we need to work together. That is why NS has come together with 25 other key mobility partners to form the Mobility Alliance. We want to work together to protect people's mobility in the Netherlands going forward into the future.