NS is the public transport here in the Netherlands for those of you outside Holland or unaware of it. And for me it stands for the: Nightmare of Sabrina. I think and I am not kidding when I say that, the very first complicated words in Dutch that I have learned were “rijdt niet”, “onze excuses”, “machinist”, “Storings” …whenever I hear these words or read them, it is not a good sign means I will be late or I will probably stay sleeping on one of the “spoors” (train lanes).
Did I imagine this a year ago before moving to the Netherlands, No I didn’t! everytime I came to visit, I went on my bike singing along the way, la la la … thinking what a beautiful land and how nice and peaceful it is to be riding on the bike without anyone about to kill you (traffic). Holland for that is by far a great country for bicycles lovers like myself, there are bike lanes nearly everywhere, I love it.
The panels, small TVs showing the destination and time have become the counting sheep; people see jumping while sleeping; for me I see NS panels following me! Oddly enough I can guaranty that I have seen it all with the public transport here:
– Several times the railways have been closed or blocked for hours due to somebody killing themselves. Now, it is very starnge but seems to be very common here in the North!
– An explosion in Fyra (high speed train) right in front of my eyes and hey I was about to have a heart attack but the rest of the passengers (Dutch mainly) very veeeeeeery calm, super calm if you ask me!… reading the news paper, playing on the phone, IPad..etc and here I am in panic, sweating, trying to have some eye contact with someone that is experiencing the same I am…did not happen!!! Nee Nee amigo!
– Trapped in a dark tunnel for 20 mins and of course then left in a middle of nowhere and then of course the message I understood from that is “help yourself people and try to find a transport now that takes you whatever the hell you are going to, now it is not our problem …although we dropped you here”…
– And then the famous excuses, the train is not working because:
1. Someone threw himself/herself at the train!
2. There are leaves on the railway.
3. It is snowing too hard.
4. It is FRIDAY, GREAT WEATHER (rare here) so therefore, few trains will work…why?? because NS SAYS SO!!!
5. It is raining too hard.
6. It is too warm. And our brain cells have melted to be able to make the train work!
7. The “machinist” or whatever they call them, has ran away with the steering wheel to Zeeland and is not coming back until Sinterklaas is here…
Ok, the last two are somehow my invention. Now, you would think with all the stories I am telling you that this is as cheap as peanuts, well No Señor! it is freaking expensive, I pay nearly 400€/monthly and when I tell people I take the fyra…WOW that is luxury they say and I stay with a puzzled face…eehhh??!!
I wanted to write this opinion about the public transport here because first I have been living here for more or less a year now and then second; I really didn’t think that a country of the standard of The Netherlands can have this type of “careless” problems that people tend to associate with countries from the South. And then the main reason is that, I heard the prices will increase again!??! why..waroom…
Having said that, I must say the difference I have observed from the public transport in the Netherland and other countries I have lived in. I will take back home Barcelona as it is the place I most lived in!.
– I found it astonishing that there are Silence sides in the train, and that people really take it seriously. To be honest I don’t know if that would work or not in the Southern Countries! I never saw that so it was funny to see it specially that people actually draw attention to others if they are speaking or using the phone…thats how I originally noticed it to start with.
– That people are super unsocial, they sit down and make sure to put their bags and coats to make sure no one will sit there unless they ask for permission! ODD…
– I take Fyra on a daily basis (whenever it works), so you get used to seeing the same people, all those people that we pay that extra “Toeslag” an additional supplement that you need to pay if you take Fyra, and then there are those people that take it once in a life time cause they need to go to the airport or whatever and then for paying that they think they own the train and the people in it…to those people: RELAX we all paid it and some of us on a monthly basis and only half of it; is used. And these people multiply once NS has the brilliant idea of making the supplement gratis!!! Ahhhh Dramatico. Half of the station will be on that train and not the most friendly ones!
So after getting all my frustration out now on my wonderful daily routine and adventure with NS, I have excluded the parts where I ended up in Amsterdam Stadium while I was supposed to stop in Schiedam, ending up in Delft, Gouda, and Lage Zwaluwe…I think it is better that stays as a secret ;P
Finally dear NS, I honestly think you have no right to increase the prices because you don’t diserve it as you do not offer a decent service, the staff at the Station are not the most friendly ones (the ones inside the trains, they are). The fact that you choose the wrong provider for your trains does not mean we have to finance your next Fyra trains from a better supplier, if I may, Non Italian please!. And last but not least, if a country like China having more than 2.6 Billion people living can manage to have a very good public transport at least the one I experienced in Shanghai was perfect, I think the Netherlands with I think 16 million, correct me if I am wrong, can also manage it. And please STOP cancelling trains on FRIDAYS when it is good weather. We NS users also diserve to get home early and enjoy the sun by the “tuin” (garden).
Thank you and have a safe trip everyone…