Dutch find public transport convenient but tickets problematic

14 July 2014, by

A newly released survey by the European Commission examines Europeans’ satisfaction with urban public transport. The survey explores user approval of various aspects of public transport including proximity to nearest stop, ease of buying tickets and ticket prices.

Dutch respondents to the survey were satisfied with the proximity of tram, bus and metro stops, however they were less satisfied with the ticket purchasing process and ticket prices.

Well-located stops

Residents in the Netherlands are highly likely to have a public transport stop close to home, with 89 per cent of respondents living less than 10 minutes from a bus, train or tram stop.

This figure is higher than the EU average of 77 per cent. Only Luxembourg, with 90 per cent, surpasses the Netherlands with a higher proportion of respondents for whom public transport is less than 10 minutes away.

Purchasing tickets

According to the survey, the Netherlands has the lowest level of satisfaction with the ticket purchasing process across the EU. Only 50 per cent of Dutch respondents were satisfied with the ease of buying tickets, compared with an EU average of 73 per cent.

Ticket prices

The Netherlands is also among the countries where respondents are least satisfied with ticket prices (32 per cent). This is fairly similar to the EU average where only 39 per cent of all respondents are satisfied with the price of urban public transport tickets.

The results show that public transport ticket prices are a concern for many Europeans.

Dutch public transport tickets

OV-chipkaart ticket changes

This survey comes at a time when Dutch transport systems are undergoing a major ticketing transition.

On July 9th, after a two-year transition period, the Dutch rail operator NS stopped issuing paper tickets. Travellers are instead required to check in and out at stations with their OV-chipkaart (public transport smart card).

People without an OV-chipkaart, such as tourists and occasional travellers, can buy a disposable version at an added cost of one euro.

There has been the odd hiccup during the transition, including passengers forgetting to check out and being overcharged for their journey.

The OV-chipkaart can be used on both metropolitan and national public transport, eliminating the need for separate ticketing systems.


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Comments arranged by date (Total 1 comments)  
July 14 2014, 08:38PM

I'm in London and I use the Oyster smart card and here too people paying their fares using the electronic purse sometimes forget to 'check out' (we call it 'touch out' but its the same process) and they too end up paying a higher fare.

Because of this Transport For London have introduced an automated process called "auto complete" whereby if someone who makes a regular journey (such as to / from work) and once in a while forgets to 'touch out' at the end of the journey then the system will do this for them.

But we only need this on the trains - our buses and trams charge flat fares which are the same no matter how far a passenger travels. So in London nobody needs to use card readers when alighting from buses or trams. This makes life much simpler.

Also, and this is very important, passengers who have prepaid season tickets and are travelling by train (National Rail, Underground, DLR) only need to check in or out at stations which have gates. As long as they have their Oyster card with them then at open stations they do not need to use the card readers.

This rule comes from when everyone had paper tickets and was retained when electronic ticketing started in 2003. It makes life much easier and guarantees that the passenger will not be penalised for forgetting to use a free-standing Oyster card reader. Since these passengers will already have paid their fares so they are not cheating the system.

It would make life a LOT easier for Dutch passengers (who have season tickets and ride-at-will day tickets) if the same rule applied in Holland as well.


About the Author
Beatrice Clarke

Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independ...



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