Is the end of the OV Chipkaart in sight?
The end of the OV Chipkaart could very well be in sight. It seems like the travel card has had its day. The Dutch government is considering getting rid of it in 2023, Stientje van Veldhoven, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, wrote in a letter to directors of transportation companies in the Netherlands.
The OV Chipkaart has had its day
The OV Chipkaart was rolled out between 2005 and 2012. So it’s been in use for some time, however, that is exactly the problem - it’s based on outdated technology and the government feels that it has seen its best days. It’s simply time for a more modern system. Travellers in the Netherlands should be able to use their bank cards and mobile phones to be able to pay, something that has been possible for passengers in London for years.
According to Van Veldhoven, the current OV Chipkaart system is “closed”, expensive and makes it difficult to add new payment options. Additionally, technical support cannot be guaranteed in the future.
The current OV Chipkaart system works by means of a “smart” card with all your information on it - the station where you last checked in and the amount of money in your account. The gates at stations simply read the information on your card. To be able to check in with your bank card, which doesn’t hold all this information, the gates would need to be “smart” instead of the card.
2023 is the goal
At this moment in time, several trials with new payment systems are being carried out, with one for six months between Leiden and The Hague seeing 1.000 passengers be able to check in using a debit or credit card. The results of that trial were extremely positive and no problems were encountered.
Van Veldhoven hopes that the new systems can be implemented in two years time. If all goes to plan and the new payment methods are satisfactory, the OV Chipkaart can be retired in 2023. This is the collective goal of the Ministry, NS and the National Public Transport Board (NOVB).
The costs of the new payment system will be lower than the current one, however, it is unclear as to who is going to finance the transition to the new system. To implement it, a great deal of investment is needed, as, amongst other things, the gates at hundreds of Dutch stations will need to be adjusted, with the software and hardware updated.