Public transit: One-time check in too expensive to implement

Entrance gates at Dordrecht station, 8 Apr 2016
Entrance gates at Dordrecht station, 8 Apr 2016. (Photo: Henk Bezemer / Wikimedia Commons)

People who use the train, tram and bus in the Netherlands will have to continue to check in each time they switch transit companies. Switching to one system for all the transit companies is too expensive, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management said in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.

In 2015 the previous government promised to introduce a single check-in and check-out system, at the insistence of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. The current system is not user-friendly, resulting in travelers making mistakes and incurring extra costs, the Kamer said. It also takes too much time to check in and out every time, according to the parliamentarians.

The public transit companies understand these issues, but add that implementing a new system is no easy task. Research now showed that fewer mistakes are being made, Van Veldhoven wrote. In 2017 a total of 400 million train journeys were made, and in only 211 thousand cases a wrong check-in pole was used. That's 0.06 percent of the total trips. According to the State Secretary, passenger information has also improved a lot and the closing of gates at stations reduced the number of problems.

The development of a new system will cost 22 million euros, she wrote. After that it will cost 7.7 million euros per year to maintain the new software. That is too expensive for now. But Ven Veldhoven believes that new techniques, like paying via an app, will make singe check-ins possible in a few years' time.