Rail company to give priority to people that live or work at the coast

The Belgian rail company NMBS has said that during the coming weekend people that live or work at the coast will be given priority on its services if capacity issues arise. Those travelling to the coast for “essential reasons” will be given preferential treatment over day-trippers. In order to prevent a repeat of last weekends crowded scenes at our coastal resorts NMBS has scrapped the extra services that were to have ran to the coast. On the trains that are running only 80% of the seating capacity will be utilised.  The decision to scrap the extra trains came after a meeting between rail bosses, the Mayors of the municipalities along the West Flemish coast and the Acting Governor of West Flanders. It had been expected that a lot of people would head for the coast this weekend, not least because Saturday 15 August is a public holiday.


Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ the NMBS spokesman Bart Crols said “The reduction in the number of services is coupled with a call to not travel to the coast en masse. There will be dissuasion measures in place. There are a lot of good reasons to go to the coast just not this weekend”.

NMBS also intends to better ensure that its trains are no more than 80% full as was agreed previously. A system of “stop and go” will be in place whereby once a train is 80% full passengers will only be allowed to get off the train at the next station and no new passengers will be allowed to get on. The 80% capacity rule will be in force in both 1st and 2nd class.

Those that need to get to the coast because they live or work there will be given priority. They will be asked to prove that this is the case. This can be done by a person’s ID card (to prove residency) or an employment contract to prove that you are on your way to the coast for work. Similarly those with hotel, self-catering, or campsite reservations will also be prioritised. 

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