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Always improving

Customer surveys, questionnaires from consumer organisations and conversations with travellers have revealed that passengers sometimes encounter obstacles or have questions when using the OV-chipkaart. We are working on measures to continue to improve the OV-chipkaart.


Ten most frequently asked questions about the OV-chipkaart

Question Solution
1. Minimum € 20 balance. Many passengers think it is a nuisance that they always have to have € 20 (if they do not have a discount card) on the OV-chipkaart in order to initiate a journey. NS wants to introduce Travel on account so that passengers pay for their travel afterwards, on a monthly basis. This way there is no need for a deposit on the card. NS is carrying out trials this year and will decide how to go forward when these trials are complete.
2. Checking in and out. Checking in and out is still difficult for people. When transferring to a different carrier, it is necessary to check in and out, and this takes time. NS is conducting trials between Amersfoort and Ede in 2015 and 2016 together with Connexxion, whereby passengers do not have to check in and out when transferring. NS operates a leniency scheme and does not fine people who are travelling on a route that they have actually paid for. In other cases the conductor makes a decision based on the circumstances as to whether leniency is appropriate. If a passenger has been fined multiple times, NS is keen to contact him or her to check whether something is wrong.
3. Forgetting to check out. Many passengers think it is a hassle to ask for their money back after they have forgotten to check out. There is also no central office to deal with this problem. Every carrier has its own reimbursement system. NS is improving its travel information app (Travel planner Xtra) so that you can receive reimbursement directly through the app by ticking a box.
4. Mijn NS account Passengers are having trouble using their NS accounts, inclusing when combined with the travel information app NS is working on an upgrade for Mijn NS.
5. I want to buy a subscription at a service desk NS is trying to make it possible to buy a subscription at the service desk. This being tried in a trial at the OV-Servicewinkel in Breda.
6. Traject Vrij. Passengers with a Trajectabonnement were obliged to switch to the more expensive Traject Vrij last year. This no longer includes a 40% discount if the passenger checks in outside the fixed route in the afternoon rush hour between 16.00 and 18.30. Traject Vrij is more expensive than the old trajectkaart, but passengers receive other benefits. For example, they can pay for travel after the event, with a monthly bill. Passengers buy Traject Vrij subscriptions more than expected.
7. Incidental 1st class journey. Subscription holders complain that it has become more expensive to buy a one-off upgrade to 1st class. The 2nd to 1st transfer ticket does not have a digital version; instead passengers are required to buy a 1st class supplement for the whole day. People who travel on balance can still swap classes whenever they want. Some subscriptions allow you to travel as much as you like for a day, or during off-peak hours, for a fixed price. These subscriptions can only be upgraded to 1st class for the entire period of time during which they are valid. You can use a ticket machine to buy a class swap to 1st class for a discount subscription in 2 steps. There is also a 2nd to 1st supplement for paid tickets: € 25 for a full day, € 15 for off-peak hours, € 10 for a weekend day and € 6 for a keuzedag. Many passengers end up saving money, especially if they are making a medium to long journey. For shorter journeys it may indeed be more expensive.
8. Fare differences for a return trip. Different railway carriers use different fares. The long distance discount (the system whereby a journey becomes increasingly cheaper the longer it is) is calculated based on the 2nd part of the journey, so the fares of two different carriers may be used when calculating the discount for the outward and return journeys. This is what causes a seemingly inexplicable price difference. Carriers use different fare systems. This can result in price discrepancies. The passenger receives the long distance discount on the fare charged by the carrier for the last part of the journey. For journeys involving multiple carriers, the carriers for the last part of the outward journey and the last part of the return journey are different. As a result, the discount is also different.

 

9. The 9 o'clock limit. Voordeelurenkaart holders who begin their journey before 9.00 used to be able to buy 2 tickets. One without a discount to the first station that they arrive at after 9.00 and another with a discount from the first station after 9.00. This is no longer possible. They now have to disembark at 9.00, check out, check in and then board again, often causing them to miss the train. Or they can travel for the entire journey on a full fare, even though a large part of their journey is travelled after 9.00. Conversely, passengers who start their journey during off-peak hours can continue to travel with a discount during rush hour. NS is deliberately trying to tempt passengers to travel during off-peak hours by offering cheaper fares. This way, there is more space in the train for commuters, and day trippers can travel outside the rush hour period for a lower price.
10. Reimbursement of balance on the OV-chipkaart. Sometimes passengers want to have the balance on their OV-chipkaart reimbursed to their bank account. They currently have to pay € 2.50 for this; consumer organisations think that this is too expensive. Carriers, public authorities and consumer organisations work together in the Nationaal Openbaar Vervoer Beraad. They incorporated this issue into their work schedule for 2015 in order to negotiate the right solution.

Obstacles cleared out of the way

Carriers have cleared obstacles that passengers encountered while using the OV-chipkaart out of the way.

Past annoyances Solution
1. A group of elderly passengers were having trouble with digital keuzedagen. Since February 2015, NS offers a paper version of these keuzedagen.
2. Tourists were having trouble with the OV-chipkaart NS introduced the Amsterdam Travel Ticket for tourists.
3. Combined travel discount. Bringing passengers with you with a combined travel discount has become overly complex. In the past, those accompanying you could simply buy a paper ticket with a discount. Now they have to bring their own OV-chipkaart with at least € 10 balance. All of them have to load the combined travel discount product onto their cards at a ticket machine. On the way back, or if the journey is interrupted for more than 35 minutes, they have to do this again. NS offered all subscription holders cheaper OV-chipkaart cards for € 2. NS has also made the combined travel discount easier to locate on the ticket machines and has started an information campaign.
4. Passengers with a trajectkaart or another subscription with which they have paid for their travel but who forget to check out. They do not want to receive fines any more and think that they deserve leniency. NS operates a leniency scheme and no longer fines passengers who have actually already paid for their journey.
5. A passenger requires multiple OV-chipkaart cards in order to travel with the whole family and each one must have balance on it. This spring, NS is introducing KidsVrij which will allow children up to 12 years old to travel for free. Then balance is no longer required. The children will still need an OV-chipkaart to check in and out.
6. People want to be able to buy separate tickets from the ticket machines a few days in advance. In 2015, NS made it possible to buy separate tickets from the ticket machines up to one week in advance.
7. Passengers feel like they are being sent from pillar to post when dealing with NS Customer Service. Since the summer of 2014, the customer service for all carriers will put you through to someone else no more than once. After that a collective team will deal with your question behind the scenes. Customers then no longer need to make multiple calls.
8. Disposable chip supplement. Passengers have questioned the € 1 supplement for disposable chips. In 2014, NS offered OV-chipkaart cards for € 2 in order to tempt passengers to use them. E-tickets are also available without a supplement.
9. € 7.50 for an OV-chipkaart is considered expensive. NS offers customers a free OV-chipkaart when they purchase a subscription.
10. Carriers are making extra money because people do not ask for reimbursements when they forget to check out. Carriers have invested the € 16 million that was not reclaimed in 2013-2014 in a set of measures that will benefit passengers. They put together this set of measures in collaboration with consumer organisations, and they are currently being implemented. The free KidsVrij subscription is one of the measures.