Unclaimed public transport deposits a ‘goldmine’ for operators

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Telegraaf reports that public transport operators are making megabucks off of passengers that forget to swipe their public transport card (OV Chipkaart) when checking out.

The paper calls the thirty million euro that the companies pocket ‘a goldmine’. The OV Chipkaart system (basically a single-purpose electronic wallet) deducts a deposit when you check in and returns that money when you check out. That deposit is 4 euro for bus, subway and tram and ten euro for rail—twenty if you travel using an ‘anonymous’ card. According to Telegraaf, forgetting to check out happens approximately once every 100 trips.

The news follows hot on the revelation that the transport card seems to have led to considerable price hikes. RTL Nieuws reported two weeks ago that since the introduction of the card, fares have risen by as much as 48% (The Hague). Cities like Amsterdam and Groningen follow with rises of 38% and 20% respectively. For comparison, inflation in the Netherlands was around 4% during that period.

In July Dutchnews reported that rail users’ association Rover and travellers’ association ANWB had started a probe to find out exactly how much money passengers lose because of forfeiting their deposit. The results are expected in the autumn. Telegraaf does not say where it got its information, but instead cites ‘reliable sources’.

See also:

(Photo of public transport companies getting an ‘award’ for being the worst privacy offenders of 2010 by Sebastiaan ter Burg, some rights reserved)

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