Through the public transport payment programme, we want to offer customers more choice and convenience when paying for their train journeys. In the future, passengers will also be able to check in and out using, for example, their debit card, credit card, mobile phone or maybe even their smart watch, in addition to the public transport smartcard. In 2018 we collaborated with all carriers, Translink and public authorities to reach agreements on the introduction of new payment methods and the development of the necessary technology. The first steps have been made this year with, among other things, the introduction of NS Flex. This allows passengers to travel on account and pay for their train journeys later. The intention is for NS Flex to be expanded in the coming year with products and functionalities such as family packages and joint journey discounts.
In December it was decided to start a pilot for travelling with bank cards from January 2019. Starting mid-January, the first passengers can pay for their NS journey by checking in and out using their debit card. The pilot project is on one route and will last six months in total. The results will be input for the decision on whether to roll this payment method out nationally.
Another test, by the NOVB, investigated checking in and out once only: passengers then do not have to check in and out again when changing to another carrier. The NOVB concluded that the introduction of checking in and out once only has no place in the current public transport smartcard world. We are looking with other carriers into further implementation of travelling with location determination (known as Swipe & Go).
Since January groups of passengers who go on a trip together can use the Group ticket. This ticket type replaces the Group Return, which was misused by intermediaries, for instance, who earned money from reselling the tickets. The new ticket makes the return journey more flexible. The whole group does have to travel on the same train from now on.