Dutch NS news: Fraud and new seat finder app
Plenty has been happening at NS recently, from discount on the high-speed train to a new app which can find you a seat. However, it’s not all been good news for the NS, as new research from AD, confirmed by NS, has brought to light passenger fraud between 2014 and 2017 to the sum of half a million euros.
Fraud on Dutch NS trains
Between the years of 2014 and 2017, a great amount of fraud took place on NS services to the sum of half a million euros. Passengers using an NS-Business card totted up 400.000 euros of travel costs but didn’t pay the NS a single penny. A few of the culprits responsible for the unpaid travel costs have been taken to court.
The fraudulent use of NS-Business cards was not the only way that the NS lost out on thousands of euros, around 50 people also abused the NS’ money back for delays scheme. Together, the 50 travellers received 100.000 euros from the NS for trips which many didn’t even make.
Delayed trips were verified by manual sample checks of the claims submitted. So, even if a train had run on time, one of these checks may have missed and paid the claimant anyways. One of these 50 passengers even managed to pay for a vacation home with the money claimed from the NS.
According to the NS, most of the 100.000 euros has been reclaimed from the 50 fraudsters. This type of fraud is no longer possible, as the NS automatically checks whether the claimant was checked in with their OV-chipkaart on the route for which they are claiming.
NS seat finder app
Enough of the bad news, time for some good news. The NS is launching an app to help passengers find a seat on the train. The trial will begin on the Arnhem - Den Bosch route.
This route has been chosen specifically because passengers tend to stay at one end of the train, where there are no free seats, whilst the other end of the train is relatively empty. The app is called the “zitplaatszoeker”, and let’s you know where you can find a seat by means of a colour scheme.
The colours orange, yellow and green indicate how busy it is in certain carriages of the train. The app uses information from the sensors in the train tracks, originally intended for freight transport, which automatically measure the weight of each train carriage.
A conversion sum is used to estimate the number of people in a single carriage. The NS is also looking into whether they can determine the number of people in a carriage by looking at the CO2 levels.