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Train travel in the Netherlands is more expensive than flying to Southern Europe

TRAVEL NEWS – March 23, 2023: Everyone knows that traveling by plane is bad for the environment. We need to travel more by train because that is more sustainable, are the sounds from The Hague and the EU… Yet the reality is not in line with the goals that are being set. Far from it.

Why is it that traveling by train is still unaffordable in 2023, when we can fly up and down to southern Europe for the same money?

Return ticket Amsterdam priceless

It is very disappointing that a return ticket from Nijmegen to Amsterdam by train will cost just as much or more in 2023 than a return ticket to Spain, Croatia or Greece by plane… You pay almost 45 euros these days. From Maastricht it is even 61 euros.

By car it is really roughly three times as cheap if you choose to park at a P+R in Amsterdam. When you travel with several people, this difference becomes even greater. With 4 people you can save 150 euros in one fell swoop by just taking the car instead of the train. Even with today's extremely high fuel prices.

Price return ticket train Nijmegen - Amsterdam
Price return ticket train Nijmegen – Amsterdam

As world travelers, we have more than once paid more for the train ticket to Schiphol than for the airline tickets to a destination in Europe…

And then I haven't even mentioned the prices of train tickets for destinations in Europe… Ridiculous prices are shown there. Return trip to Milan in Italy? 850 euros please. Return by train to Barcelona? That will be 740 euros please.

Price return Amsterdam - Barcelona by train
Price return Amsterdam – Barcelona by train

Not only does the train journey take roughly 11 hours longer than the plane journey, the huge price difference is especially striking. You fly in 2,5 hours for about 170 to 200 euros up and down to Barcelona with different airlines. Direct flights without transfer. And those are the prices in the short term… Those who look carefully at Skyscanner and if you book a little further in advance, you can even go up and down for less than 100 euros with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

Flights Amsterdam - Barcelona | Return prices
Flights Amsterdam – Barcelona | Return prices

Also read: Skyscanner | How to save (a lot of) money on flights

Sustainability is not getting off the ground in Europe

If people want us on the sustainable train so much, why do train tickets still cost on average at least 5 times as much as airline tickets for the same destination?

NS train at Nijmegen station
NS train at Nijmegen station

It simply doesn't match. We have an urgent climate problem and we have to change. At the same time, we actively prevent sustainability by making and keeping climate-responsible train journeys unaffordable. In 2023, the train ticket prices rose again by 5,5 percent, just like the year before. Flying is still by far the fastest and, above all, the cheapest option for almost every destination in Europe.

Both in The Hague and in the EU, people have been talking about making travel within Europe more sustainable for decades. However, we are now 10 years further. Unfortunately, we have to conclude that the change is slow to get going.

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