Seat availability at peak times on the HSL South

Performance indicator

Realisation in 2018

Realisation in 2017

Minimum value for 2018

Target value for 2019

Seat availability at peak times (HSL South)





  • * This figure was adjusted by 0.8% following physical recounts of the seats in trains.

Seat availability at peak times on the HSL South was 94.0% in 2018. This is lower than in 2017 (96.0%). The reason for this was the substantial passenger growth of 15% on the route between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The IC Brussels train was extended from six to seven carriages in the first six months of 2018. In August we extended the peak-hour train between Breda and Amsterdam by three carriages so many more passengers can have a seat. We also took additional measures to improve the journey information. Passengers are informed about the crowding on specific trains when planning their journey so that they can make different choices. This is done for instance via the crowding indicator in the NS app. We also offer a discount on the IC direct surcharge for passengers who avoid the peak period. Staff on the platforms encourage a better spread along the length of the train and Safety & Service staff keep out fare dodgers.
The strong growth in passenger numbers on the HSL South remains a challenge for NS. Cancellations and delays in the busy peak-hour trains directly affect many passengers. A day with delays and cancellations on the HSL South immediately has a huge impact on this performance indicator due to the relatively small number of trains. NS and ProRail are targeting a reduction in cancellations and delays via an improvement programme. Despite the challenges that come with the growth in passenger numbers, we performed above the minimum value in 2018.

Capacity growth

Passenger numbers are expected to keep growing in 2019. By adding one extra train per hour from December 2018 and by increasing the length of every Intercity direct train with an extra carriage (from the beginning of 2019), we are achieving an increase in capacity of almost 20% for 2019: there are 850 more seats available for passengers every hour. This means that the maximum capacity of the NS trains on the HSL South has been reached for now. However, the expected growth in passenger numbers is even greater so passengers will still experience crowded trains. Starting with the 2021 timetable, the New Generation Intercity trains ordered by NS will start running on the HSL South. In December 2018, the IC Brussels became the fifth service to run on the HSL South in addition to the four domestic services. As a result, more capacity has become available here too, which will increase seat availability.