In the railway sector there is a great deal of interest in objective time but hardly any in passengers’ subjective experience of time. The focus of this publication is thus not on (shortening) objective time but on how time itself is experienced and how this can be improved.
Aware that a journey must not only be quick but also pleasant, Netherlands Railways (NS) consequently sets itself the following objective: “To transport our passengers safely, on time and in comfort via appealing stations.” Particularly the wait is found to be unpleasant, with passengers regarding stations and especially platforms as sombre, boring and grey places, devoid of atmosphere and colour. By improving the waiting environment, we can kill two birds with one stone: passengers will find waiting more pleasant and the waiting time will appear to be shorter. The practical question in this research thus reads: “Which measures are effective to make the waiting time at stations more pleasant and/or to shorten the perception of waiting time?”
After obtaining his degree in economic geography at Utrecht University, Mark van Hagen (8 November 1961) worked for the Province of Noord-Brabant and Schiphol Airport. Since 1990, Mark has been employed by Netherlands Railways, holding various positions in which the constant focus of his research and policy advice has been on the customer.