26 July 2023, by Victoria Séveno

An investigation carried out by RTL Nieuws has found that not only does the Netherlands have higher ticket prices for public transport than other neighbouring countries, but travellers who buy international rail tickets via Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) will pay more than customers buying through a foreign rail company.

Dutch rail prices higher than in other European countries

“A [weekend] return train ticket from the Belgian town of Essen to Antwerp costs only 6,60 euros per person at the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS),” RTL Nieuws reports. Meanwhile, those travelling from Roosendaal – which is just 8,5 kilometres north of Essen – to Antwerp pay 16,40 euros for the exact same ticket on the exact same train. 

Further distances show even larger price differences: “If you want to go from Amsterdam to Budapest, you pay 109,90 euros with the NS. If you book the same journey with MAV-Start, the Hungarian company only charges 66 euros.”

NS says price disparities are inevitable

Talking to RTL Nieuws, Eva Taylor Parkins from travellers’ organisation Rover said the drastic differences in price are unfair to travellers in the Netherlands. “It is absolutely undesirable that there are price differences,” Taylor Parkins argued. “The traveller should have the certainty that they are paying the best price for the trip. Ideally, the traveller should therefore pay the same price through every booking channel.”

Rover was unable to offer any explanation for why these price differences exist, but pointed out that many customers are likely unaware that booking via NS could end up costing them more. 

NS, meanwhile, said these price disparities “will probably always exist”, with a spokesperson explaining that each operator determines its own prices: “You cannot compare a Belgian domestic ticket with an international ticket from the Netherlands to Belgium. If there is a border crossing in the journey, you sometimes have to deal with two different price structures, so that the price can be different,” they told RTL Nieuws.

Thumb: Wut_Moppie via Shutterstock.com.

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