The socialist youth group in the Netherlands, ROOD: jong in de SP (RED: Socialist Party youth), has demanded the abolition of first class in Dutch railways to prevent the overcrowding of second class coaches during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On August 23, they demanded that the first class compartments, which cater to the rich and elite, should be thrown open to the common people who cannot afford it, at least during the pandemic. The movement has also demanded a general lowering of rail fares in the country.
According to reports, in the Netherlands, about 25% of the train compartments are first class and a seat in first class is 70% more expensive than the second class. Most of the trains have been running with overcrowded second class coaches and almost vacant first class coaches.
In their statement, ROOD: jong in de SP, has stated that “not only is this a completely unjust system in normal time, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes the situation dangerous. The most important means against the spread of the virus — keeping your distance — is already practically impossible with the current set-up of the second class. That means a safe and spacious first class for those who can afford it, a source of contamination for travelers who already thought it was an expensive train ticket.”
“There must also be a structural solution to make public transport truly public for everyone. Democratize public transport and structurally lower the price of a train ticket. In this way we ensure that when we open there are again enough affordable places on the trains, but that there is also a truly green alternative to polluting private vehicles,” added the statement.
Last year it was reported that according to the Eurostat figures, the transport services in the Netherlands are 35% more expensive than the average for the European Union.