Monday, July 27, 2015 - 10:11
Replace expired transit cards for free, says official
The Ombudsman for better public transport thinks that the replacement of an expired public transport chip card should be free of charge, instead of the 7.50 euros travelers currently have to pay every 5 years. This is according to the second quarterly report of the OV Loket - the Ombudsman for better public transport. The Ombudsman received a number of complaints regarding the replacement of the public transport chip card. Travelers find the 7.50 euro charge too high, especially since this fee does not apply to people with a continuous NS subscription. Other complaints regarded the fact that the card has to be replaced every 5 years, even if the current card is still working well. Many people find the process of applying for a new card too complicated and feel it is inconvenient that the remaining balance on the old card is not automatically credited back to their account. The OV Loket set these questions to the Customer Service department of the public transport chip card. According to the Customer Service, the 7.50 euro fee for a new card, does not only include the production of the card, but also all related services, such as the collection and management of customer data, and other services that must be performed such as the balance refund. The card must be replaced every 5 years because they can break down over time and because the technology and security on the cards become outdated. As for an automatic balance refund, this is currently impossible for technical as well as procedural reasons. According to the Ombudsman, this reasoning seems valid from the perspective of the transport company, but it is questionable whether this is the best approach. The OV Loket thinks it is a good idea to see the replacement of the card as a service to the traveler and to include its costs in the trip rates. "Then every public transport traveler that use his chip card properly can get a new one offered for 'free every five years and a lot of paperwork and annoyance can be left behind."