In 2018, NS Stations and its partners once again made improvements to numerous stations. We have invested in facilities that improve the level of hospitality, including facilities at small stations. Examples are the improved amenities for storing bicycles and parking cars, and facilities where visitors can pleasantly spend their time at the station. We looked for suitable solutions for vacant premises at the station to improve the experience and personal safety while retaining the distinctive character of the property and taking proper care of our heritage. Geldermalsen station has been completely refurbished, for instance. Since 2016, every station has had a station manager, someone who is responsible for all the services to our passengers, lessees and stakeholders and for keeping the station clean, undamaged and safe.
Improved waiting area facilities
In 2018 the waiting area facilities at 19 stations were tackled. We opened Station Living Rooms (StationsHuiskamers) at Heerhugowaard, Alphen aan den Rijn, Den Helder, Assen and Goes, bringing the total number of stations with a Station Living Room to 17. The Station Living Rooms offer visitors a pleasant space with facilities such as coffee, sockets, toilets and journey information. The new Station Living Rooms at the five stations mentioned are housed in premises where Kiosk shops used to be. The former Kiosk employees are now the hosts at the Station Living Room and an important point of contact for passengers. In 2019, we will be converting around seven Kiosk outlets into Station Living Rooms, mainly at smaller stations throughout the Netherlands.
At Cuijk station, the waiting room in the station building from 1882 has been renovated. Characteristic elements and structural features have been restored to their former glory. Visitors who want something to eat or drink can go to the new cafe.
Toilets at stations
Toilets are an important basic facility for hospitable stations. We are making the toilet facilities safer, more comfortable and more accessible for passengers, with recognisable quality and a clear service concept. At 21 larger stations, NS Stations awarded responsibility for the toilets to Sanifair through a franchising tender. In 2018, we opened a new Sanifair site at the Den Haag Hollands Spoor station. The toilets, which include a disabled toilet, a ‘night-time toilet’ and a family room, are located at a point that allows for the planned new transfer tunnel. A new Sanifair toilet facility was opened at Tilburg station at the end of July and the construction of a third location at Amsterdam Centraal station started after the summer.
Water taps at stations
NS wants to offer public transport passengers free drinking water at all Dutch train stations. That is why NS has started installing drinking water taps at 222 stations in the Netherlands. The first tap, at Alkmaar station, came into use at the end of October. The aim is to have enough by the end of 2019 so that 90% of all rail passengers in the Netherlands pass a water tap during their journey. NS is investing more than €3 million in installing the water taps and maintaining them over the next ten years. NS is taking this initiative in order to encourage people to drink tap water, thereby helping reduce waste in the form of plastic bottles.
Voting at stations
In 2018, passengers were able to vote in the municipal elections and advisory referendum at a record number of stations. Being able to set up polling stations at train stations is important for municipalities and for NS as part of its hospitality.
NS Stations is responsible for keeping all stations clean and free of snow, regardless of which carriers stop at the station. Passengers are positive about the cleanliness of stations: 80% gave a score of 7 out of 10 or higher in 2018, as opposed to 78% in the previous year. Research shows that visitors think that some aspects of the cleaning, such as floors, benches and rubbish bins, are more important than others. Paying extra attention to these aspects has improved the customer satisfaction score.
Stations undergoing renovations
Eindhoven station was officially reopened on 22 March. After extensive refurbishment work lasting five years, passengers can now enjoy the space and facilities appropriate for a modern-day, future-proof station. We built a spacious underpass next to the old tunnel with shops, escalators and lifts, artworks and plenty of space for waiting. This was done while retaining the iconic, listed station building, which was restored to its former glory.
In 2018, renovation work was carried out at 13 stations, including Harderwijk, Assen and Driebergen-Zeist. The renovations are progressing smoothly and some stations have already been finished. The new Amsterdam Zuid station is expanding from 1,750m2 to 5,400m2. It will become a clearly laid out station with a ground-level passageway open to all and extra wide underpasses giving access to the train and metro platforms, supervised bicycle storage facilities, ticket sales, shops and other station facilities. Covered pedestrian routes will be added to the station exterior with facilities for taxis, buses and trams. The facilities that are on offer will be comparable to Utrecht Centraal and Rotterdam Centraal stations. All the lessons we learned from recent major renovations such as those at Breda, Den Haag Centraal, Utrecht Centraal and Arnhem Centraal stations are incorporated in the design. For example, construction is taking place in phases so that it can still be ‘business as usual’ during the renovation.
Last year, the municipality of Almere, NS, ProRail and the provincial authority of Flevoland started preparations for improving Almere Centrum station and its immediate surroundings. Almere Centrum is the largest Intercity station on the Flevo Line, which gives it a key function in the public transport network for the city and the region.
Development of station areas
There are plans to turn the Cartesius triangle — the former workshop and shunting yard in Utrecht — into the healthiest and most public-transport and bicycle friendly neighbourhood in the Netherlands. The development of this area is based on the Course Document that NS and the municipality of Utrecht drew up jointly and that was adopted unanimously by the municipal council. The design builds on the shared aim of NS and the municipality of Utrecht to enable healthy lives in a healthy living environment. Around 2,600 homes will be built, along with a large park, a school, a supermarket, hospitality sector amenities and various other facilities. The historic CAB building will be the eye-catching centrepiece of the new neighbourhood, with space for music-making creatives and a brewery, among other things. Local residents and other stakeholders will have a role in shaping the developments.
An NS site is being redeveloped in Rotterdam too. This is De Boezembocht, which will provide more room for the city district of Nieuw Kralingen. The site has been cleared. This process was notable for the online auction of a concrete mixing plant.
In 2018, NS Stations sold The Globe building and a development plot on Waldorpstraat next to Den Haag Hollands Spoor station. NS Stations bought The Globe in 2015 as part of the project working on Den Haag Hollands Spoor station. That work started in 2017. Last year, NS Stations decided to put The Globe back on the market because the property was not part of the strategic property portfolio that adds value to stations or their surroundings.
NS Stations invests the proceeds in stations and their surrounding areas. In doing this, we are responding to demands from passengers for more services and facilities (such as bicycle storage facilities, toilets and water taps). We are also building additional waiting areas for the staff of the various carriers.
Safety at the station
As in other years, the safety of visitors, our employees and office and shop staff at stations are an important focal point in 2018. We used safety rounds, safety targets, investigations of incidents and communication as ways of working on a safety culture in which we are open about safety risks and incidents. We share our knowledge about safety programmes with our lessees too. This lets us learn with and from each other and improve the processes.
Sustainability at stations
In 2018, trials were held at Utrecht Centraal and Zwolle stations for separating disposable paper cups from other waste. The change to the layout of the fast-food court at Utrecht Centraal offered an opportunity to install the new waste bins. At Zwolle station, some of the existing bins were adapted for collecting disposable cups by changing the openings and placing new stickers. The experiment fits in with NS’s goal of reducing the amount of passenger waste by 25% by 2020 when compared with 2014. We want separate collection of 75% of that waste so that it can be used for recycling.