New super-cheap direct train between Basel and Amsterdam to launch in 2024
With the night train between Zurich and Amsterdam proving especially popular since it launched in 2021, a new public transport provider is soon going to throw its hat into the ring. Promising bargain-basement ticket prices, GoVolta is set to launch a new direct rail service between Basel and the Dutch capital in 2024.
GoVolta to launch direct train between Switzerland and the Netherlands
GoVolta, a subsidiary of FlyWise, told Dutch website Treinreiziger that they aim to launch a budget Basel to Amsterdam direct rail service at some point in 2024, alongside new trains between the Dutch capital, Paris and Berlin. The service is expected to run three times a week in both directions.
On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, the GoVolta train will depart Basel Badischer Bahnhof at 9.41am, calling at Freiburg, Ringsheim - the stop for German amusement park Europa-Park - Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Koblenz, Cologne, Kaldenkirchen, Venlo, Eindhoven and Utrecht, before arriving in Amsterdam Centraal at 9.13pm. The return leg departs Amsterdam at 7.32am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving back in Switzerland at 5.52pm.
Basel to Amsterdam rail tickets to be cheaper than flying
While the company admits that the 10 euro tickets initially promoted by them will only be offered in limited quantities, tickets to and from Basel will still only cost between 50 to 60 euros each. For reference, a comparable ticket booked in advance with Deutsche Bahn (DB) costs around 89 euros and requires a single change in Frankfurt - quite the jeopardy considering DB's less-than-stellar punctuality record.
GoVolta explained that they are aiming to provide an affordable alternative to air travel. Instead of trying to compete with domestic rail providers, the company sees budget airlines and FlixBus as their main competitors.
Budget airline policies implemented on European railways
In their attempts to compete with flying on price - flying remains cheaper than rail on a majority of international routes from Switzerland - GoVolta has adopted some rather novel ways to save money, including paying for luggage on some routes and charging for seat selection. What’s more, while it is a direct service, the train ride from Basel to Amsterdam takes five hours longer than the fastest Deutsche Bahn service due to the trains they use and timetable restrictions.
Responding to these notes, Founder Maarten Bastian noted that they have to implement these policies as “otherwise the plane is the cheapest, and people don't choose the train. And that's exactly what we want.” He confirmed that after expanding to Switzerland the company has grand ambitions for the future, with the firm set to offer trains from Amsterdam to Munich and Copenhagen by 2025.