Explanation of crowding indicator

Using the crowding indicator, you can see how crowded it is expected to be during any given journey by bus, tram, metro or train. The expected level of crowding will be shown in the travel advice of the journey planner on the RET website and in the RET Real Time App. Four different situations are possible:

No information

When there is no crowding-related information available, no crowding indicator symbol will be displayed in the journey planner for the journey in question.

Uncrowded

No crowding is expected in the vehicle. Seats are available.

In that case, the estimate for each type of public transport vehicle is as follows:
Bus - No more than 15 passengers are present in the bus. 
Tram - No more than 25 passengers are present in the tram.
Metro - Because the capacity can differ from one trip to the next, the level of crowding is expressed as a percentage. The metro is considered ‘uncrowded’ when the total occupancy is no more than 25% of capacity.

Moderately crowded

Moderately crowded conditions are expected in the vehicle. There are enough standing places available.

In that case, the estimate for each type of public transport vehicle is as follows:
Bus - No more than 34 passengers are present in the bus.
Tram - No more than 56 passengers are present in the tram.
Metro - Because the capacity can differ from one trip to the next, the level of crowding is expressed as a percentage. The metro is considered ‘moderately crowded’ when the total occupancy is no more than 63% of capacity.

Crowded

Crowded conditions are expected in the vehicle. There may be no seats left and only a limited number of standing places available.

In that case, the estimate for each type of public transport vehicle is as follows:
Bus - At least 35 passengers are present in the bus.
Tram - At least 57 passengers are present in the tram.
Metro - Because the capacity can differ from one trip to the next, the level of crowding is expressed as a percentage. The metro is considered ‘crowded’ when the total occupancy is at least 64% of capacity.

Source
The degree of crowding on a given journey is estimated based on historical boarding and exit data and the available capacity. Each and every day, data from the public transport chip cards is used to count the number of passengers who travel from one stop to another. This is entirely anonymous. No public transport chip card numbers are registered for this purpose. The public transport companies Arriva, Connexxion, EBS, GVB, HTM, NS, Qbuzz, RET and Keolis supply this historical data so that the crowding indicator can show how crowded it is expected to be on a given public-transport journey, almost anywhere in the Netherlands. In order to continuously improve the quality and reliability of the crowding indicator, new sources such as weather forecasts, planned journeys and/or traffic information will be added in future.   

Caveat
The science of analysing boarding and exit data in relation to available capacity is still in its infancy. The crowding indicator symbol you see is an indication of how crowded it could be in the vehicle during a given trip. The actual level of crowding may differ from the estimated level of crowding provided by the crowding indicator. Crowding during a journey can be influenced by external factors such as the weather, detours and malfunctions, events and/or traffic congestion. In addition, the capacity can vary from trip to trip, vehicle to vehicle and between one carrier and another. Surveys conducted among our passengers show that people’s perceptions of how crowded it is in a vehicle can differ. It is also possible that no information is available because of a detour, malfunction or data communication disruption.

Feedback
To help us improve the crowding indicator, we are eager to receive feedback from our passengers regarding the crowding indicator for journeys made with RET. 
Passengers are being asked to email a screenshot of the crowding indicator to klantenservice@ret.nl, along with information on the line number, date and time of the trip and the vehicle number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there one shared crowding indicator for all types of public transport?
The shared crowding indicator exists to provide an effective overview of the expected level of crowding throughout the entire journey, across all modalities of all public transport companies.

Which carriers are taking part in the indicator?
The following public transport companies are taking part in the crowding indicator: Arriva, Connexxion, EBS, GVB, HTM, NS, Qbuzz, RET and Keolis.

Can I still bring my wheelchair, stroller or folding bicycle with me when it's crowded?
Yes, it is possible to bring your wheelchair, stroller or folding bicycle with you into the vehicle. It is, of course, important that other passengers are able to make enough room for your item.

Does the crowding indicator take 1.5 metres of social distance into account?
Where public transport is concerned, the social distancing requirement of 1.5 metres does not apply in the vehicles, but only on the platforms. You are, however, required to wear a mask during your journey. That being said, you should try to maintain distance between yourself and fellow passengers when possible and respect one another's space.

Why isn't the crowding indicator working?
In some cases, it may be possible that the information is not up to date. When this happens, no crowding indicator will be visible in the travel advice. If this is due to a technical malfunction, an investigation will be launched to find the cause as quickly as possible.

How current is the information in the crowding indicator?
This depends on the carrier. Some carriers supply us with an update on the expected crowding every day, while for others (as it stands now), this information is made available only once a week. We strive to update the information on a daily basis.

Why doesn't the crowding indicator rely on the actual, real-time level of crowding in a vehicle?
At this time, the crowding indicator is based on historical boarding and exit data. This is primarily useful when planning a journey at a future point in time. RET is also working to develop a service that will indicate the current crowding level in a vehicle based on the actual (real-time) occupancy rate. It is not yet known when this service will become available.

Is what I'm seeing the crowding during the journey, or the crowding at the stop or station?
The expected level of crowding you see in the travel advice is the crowding during the journey (per vehicle).

Does the crowding indicator apply to the entire journey or to an individual vehicle?
The crowding indicator displayed on the travel advice detail screen indicates how crowded a specific vehicle is expected to be, calculated from the boarding stop shown to the exit stop shown.

Why do you indicate crowded conditions in the screen with travel options, even though it applies only to one bus in my entire travel advice?
When your journey consists of multiple parts, we will show the expected level of crowding for the most crowded part on the screen with travel options. When you choose one of the various travel options, you will then be shown the expected level of crowding for each individual part.