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Old June 3rd, 2011, 01:35 PM   #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
As usual anything that makes transit less attractive is heralded as progress by suburbanist...
How a national transit card, that will be accepted in any land-based public transportation in the country but taxis, from Intercity trains to passenger river ferries makes transit "less attractive"?

That card can be programed to be reloaded automatically whenever it reaches the minimum threshold, meaning you don't need to buy a ticker ever. Their are valid for 5 years and are being handled out for €2. So for 95% of transit users, or more, it is going to simplify payment, and also bring savings as they are going to close tickets sales point in all but a handful of major train stations.

Only foreign tourists might have a harder time trying to figure out the system, as most are used only to oh-so-1960 colored paper tickets.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 04:28 PM   #242
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I love the idea of the OV-chipcard, but there is certainly room for improvement.
There are a lot little annoyances that i didn't have when using the Octopus card in Hong Kong.

Just to learn from example:

Make the anonymous card cheaper. € 7.50 is too much. Make it € 5.00 at most. Don't force people to get the € 2.00 registered one. Also make it a "borg": when people hand their card back in, make them get their € 5.00 (or € 7.50 as it is now) back.

Keep the card valid till it breaks. The Octopus card is valid forever, why does the OV-Chipcard have to be any different? And if they really have technical reasons for the short validity, then at least let people hand in their expired cards to get their € 7.50 back.

Make an anonymous card for children and senior citizens. There is an Octopus card like this, and it would be like the old "pink" strippenkaart that we already had. There's no reason not to do this: if people don't want to pay, there's already ways to do that. They won't get a "pink OV-Chipcard" just to pay less. They would still be screwed when being checked, as they would be with a pink strippenkaart.

Make it easier to charge. In Hong Kong all you have to do is hop into a 7/11, put your card on a pad, give the person behind the desk some money and they will charge it onto your card. In The Netherlands the equivalent could be the places where they now have those yellow "charging stations", which accept no cash: Albert Heijn, Primera, etc. They will be happy to receive customers at the desk, since Primera owners have already complained about losing customers because they no longer have to come to the desk to buy a strippenkaart, where they usually also buy other things while they are there.

Make the beeps at check-in and check-out louder, make the message on the screen more clear.
During rush-our in the Amsterdam metro, it's basically impossible to hear and see whether your card checked out, or whether you're just walking through the door opened by the person in front of you. It's really annoying when bad design like this costs you 4 euros. It hasn't cost me money yet, but it has cost me time: the check-in gate didn't give me any message whether i had been checked in, so i had to go back to one of the blue poles to see... i had been checked in succesfully. Thanks for telling me.
So: make sure your machines work, and make sure they work ergonomically.

Make the paper cards cheaper. Right now there is a one-hour card for public transport in Amsterdam, which costs € 2,60. This is a good price for someone who has to travel for one hour, but for someone who only wants to go 1 or 2 stops and otherwise never uses public transportation, this is insane. Make a half-hour card for € 1,30.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 06:09 PM   #243
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I'm with you. I don't see why we had to reinvent the wheel and then proceed to come up with a worse design when we might have just copied a perfectly functioning system from elsewhere in the world.

But of course by the same token we might have just asked the French to build our highspeed railway line and get some of their trains 2nd hand and on the cheap. But nooo, we had to do it all ourselves. And **** it up.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
How a national transit card, that will be accepted in any land-based public transportation in the country but taxis, from Intercity trains to passenger river ferries makes transit "less attractive"?
You don't need a chip card to have an integrated tariff system. So the fact that the OV Chipcard offers this is a weak argument.

The whole system is flawed in principle. In a conventional, paper based system as a passenger you are yourself responsible for having the right transportation title on you when you travel. Paper tickets are easily understandable by everyone, and can be checked without special equipment.

Yesterday when I took the bus I stamped my ticket(as usual) and then noticed that the stamping machine had obviously run out of ink, as it had cut of a piece of my 12 trips card, but not stamped the line next to the piece it cut of. So I just went to the bus driver, and he wrote in the time and the stop I boarded at in by hand. Problem solved. However, had I not done that I would have had a hard time explaining my self to the train conductor of the train I took as the second part of my trip.
But as the integrated tariff around here uses simple paper tickets that any user can understand the problem was avoided.

You can't audit a chipcard without the right equipment.
When I was last in London, I used to Oyster Card. When transferring from the DLR to the Underground at Canary Warf I somehow overlooked the machine where I had to "check out" after using the DLR. So I ended up not being able to pass the gate at the underground station. I went to a staffed ticket booth, where my Oyster Card was checked and somehow fixed, so I could now enter the underground station. This was done without questions asked.
This shows me that the system is actually open to manipulation, and that the only way for the manipulation to be limited is that the transport company takes it upon itself to make sure everyone has the right ticket before boarding a vehicle. So you suddenly need gates at every station, and more importantly you need staff at every station. On the London Underground the stations are all staffed, and all have gates. On the DLR the stations don't have gates and are mostly unstaffed, which means that "checking out" with your Chip Card is not enforced.

So with a chipcard you need to have gates at every transit stop. You need staff at every transit stop too. (In the UK at stations with gates they are left open when there is no staff present). So it works in urban transit, but not in a country wide regional system. A lot of train stations in the Netherlands are unstaffed, and therefore you can get on a train without any problem. Since a passenger cannot herself verify that the Chip Card "check in" machine did the right thing before she boards a train she cannot be expected to have the right transport title when checked on board. I wonder what will happen once someone challenges the system in court afte having been given a fine for not properly checking in...
But even when it works the system is quite open to being abused and gamed in many ways. Especially since the work of the ticket inspectors has suddenly gotten a lot harder too. One trick is checking in, and checking out again immediately. When a ticket inspector comes you just claim you did the right thing, but the machine obviously didn't.
I wouldn't be surprised if over the next years public transport companies in the Netherlands saw a reduction in revenue.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #245
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They addressed many of your concerns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
The whole system is flawed in principle. In a conventional, paper based system as a passenger you are yourself responsible for having the right transportation title on you when you travel. Paper tickets are easily understandable by everyone, and can be checked without special equipment.
This is just anti-progress. Airline tickets, AFAIK, until the late 1990s were in paper-based versions that actually represented the tickets and had value in themselves. I guess some people might have complained about e-tickets being "open to manipulation" or else.

More important, the urban transportation in the whole country was converted into a km-based system, which is usually most fair in a country without very big metro areas or extreme high-density origin/destination points. There is a flat entrance fee (€ 0,70) + km-based fee. Changes (connections) within a certain time threshold, calculated automatically, don't imply in a new entrance fee being charged.

This is more sensible and precise than the old system of fare zones. However, it would be very difficult to sign and sell tickets for km-based journeys without an automated collection system. The passenger would have to calculate the distance of the journey and buy a ticket for the equivalent fare (OV Chipkaart have precision on € 0,01). You'd have to have massive panels of all possible combinations between two stops within a network in places like Amsterdam or Rotterdam-Den Haag. Then, you'd have to deal with enhanced and tweaked fare discounts rules.

Quote:
You can't audit a chipcard without the right equipment.
Every conductor in public transportation in NL has the "right equipment".

Quote:
. So you suddenly need gates at every station, and more importantly you need staff at every station. On the London Underground the stations are all staffed, and all have gates. On the DLR the stations don't have gates and are mostly unstaffed, which means that "checking out" with your Chip Card is not enforced.

So with a chipcard you need to have gates at every transit stop. You need staff at every transit stop too. (In the UK at stations with gates they are left open when there is no staff present). So it works in urban transit, but not in a country wide regional system. A lot of train stations in the Netherlands are unstaffed, and therefore you can get on a train without any problem.
Netherlands has a place to put fare gates in major train stations platforms. They also have an "incentive" system here: a €4 to € 40 balance is required on your card before checking in (depending if it is an urban, 1st class rail, 2st class rail or any of them with discount plans). €4 or € 20 is what 99% of possible combinations of urban transit or intercity train 2nd class with discount, respectively, will cost. If you check-out properly, your card is "refunded" to make it a net withdraw of your payable fare (it appears on a display the moment you check-out, contrary to Oyster). If not, you lose the whole money withdrawn on check-in.

The OV Chipkaart also makes it easier to make trips that are partially on peak and partially off-peak. Up to now, they had just a single discount card: € 55/year for 40% off-peak (all times but Mon-Fri 6h30-9h) discount. Now, with improved ticketing with the RFID card, they introduced an evening (16h30-19h) peak, and different discount plans like € 20/month for 20% peak + 40% off-peak discount, € 45/month for unlimited weekend travel + 40% off-peak discount, € 95/month for unlimited off-peak and weekend travel + 40% off-peak discount.

If you were travelling on a journey that comprised peak and off-peak, you'd have to buy 2 paper tickets, with a break in the first city after the 9h or before 6h30, if you didn't want to just pay full fare all the way. Now, the chipkaart automatically calculates that.

Quote:
Since a passenger cannot herself verify that the Chip Card "check in" machine did the right thing before she boards a train she cannot be expected to have the right transport title when checked on board.
The Dutch OV Chipkaart readers display a color, a sound, and a written advise upon touching to certify your card is good for travel. The sound for successful check-in or failed check-in is clearly different. One is green, other is red.

Quote:
One trick is checking in, and checking out again immediately. When a ticket inspector comes you just claim you did the right thing, but the machine obviously didn't.
Dutch OV Chipkaart readers cannot check-in and check-out at the same card within 150 sec. A third signal (yellow) and a written message says you already checked in (or out) and can't repeat it. This was done specifically to prevent the scenario you described.

It is the obligation of the passenger to assure him/herself that he/she had the proper travel title. In reality, it is not much different than a challenge of current system: people could claim the stamp machines were broken (some small stations had just one per platform). Foreigners would board trains from Amsterdam to Zaandam using their invalid (for that journey) tourist transport cards for 24 or 72h.


So, you see, the Dutch system is more resourceful than Oyster or Octopus cards. Those were meant only for use on systems that were 100% either gated or staffed controlled (like buses). The OV Chipkaart has a more ample scope.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 10:49 PM   #246
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The biggest (and only, if you think about) failure of the OV-chipcard is that it misaligns the burdens and costs of implementation, the transitory costs that come with the incredibly stupid decision to develop a system from scratch instead of adopting Oyster. Examples:
-Studentenkaart administrative failures.
-Costs of 'forgetting' to check out.
-Confusion created by the multiple cards needed for specific-operator discount fares.

These are not theoretical problems like K_'s, but actualy, real observed problems. The problem is that the costs for these things are now burdens on the user instead of the operator. That's bad for two reasons.

(1) It's a cost to those users, which is unfair, creates a backlash against the system as a whole which leads to costly delays--for example the parliamentary response.

(2) More importantly, aligns economic incentives wrong, as those able to fix things have pretty small incentives to change stuff. It earns them money, after all. But even when taking a more nuanced, less conspiracy-theory view, it's about priorities, about executives and management pushing things through, and about private sector taking a stance and just going to fix something.

TLS are complete ****heads, so much is clear. Connexion and Arriva have exited the organisation because of that reason. Left is a bunch of bureaucrats and consultants without any private sector incentives, or monetary incentives at all, to do a decent job. More positively framed: if Connexion and Arriva were losing millions a year because of TLS failures, those failures would be fixed already. That's the failure of the OV-chipcard.
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Old June 5th, 2011, 10:23 AM   #247
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[QUOTE=Suburbanist;79009024]
This is just anti-progress. Airline tickets, AFAIK, until the late 1990s were in paper-based versions that actually represented the tickets and had value in themselves. I guess some people might have complained about e-tickets being "open to manipulation" or else.
[quote]
Repeat after me:
Trains are not planes.
Trains are not planes.
Trains are not planes.
Do this a couple of times, and then we can continue.

A big difference between a train and a plane is that a plane has a passenger manifest. Think about that.

Quote:
More important, the urban transportation in the whole country was converted into a km-based system, which is usually most fair in a country without very big metro areas or extreme high-density origin/destination points. There is a flat entrance fee (€ 0,70) + km-based fee. Changes (connections) within a certain time threshold, calculated automatically, don't imply in a new entrance fee being charged.
This is more sensible and precise than the old system of fare zones. However, it would be very difficult to sign and sell tickets for km-based journeys without an automated collection system. The passenger would have to calculate the distance of the journey and buy a ticket for the equivalent fare (OV Chipkaart have precision on € 0,01). You'd have to have massive panels of all possible combinations between two stops within a network in places like Amsterdam or Rotterdam-Den Haag. Then, you'd have to deal with enhanced and tweaked fare discounts rules.
You don't need a chip card for that. In Switzerland I can just go to a ticket vending machine, type in where I want to go to, and I'll get a ticket, that includes trains and buses (and sometimes even boats and cable cars) based on the tarrif system the companies involved use. Sometimes it is km based, sometimes zone based. It works.

Quote:
Every conductor in public transportation in NL has the "right equipment".
Not every train has a conductor on it. And even if it has a conductor, you often don't encounter one. Which means that you only find out you are not in order until you meet the conductor... What happens then?

Quote:
Netherlands has a place to put fare gates in major train stations platforms. They also have an "incentive" system here: a €4 to € 40 balance is required on your card before checking in (depending if it is an urban, 1st class rail, 2st class rail or any of them with discount plans). €4 or € 20 is what 99% of possible combinations of urban transit or intercity train 2nd class with discount, respectively, will cost. If you check-out properly, your card is "refunded" to make it a net withdraw of your payable fare (it appears on a display the moment you check-out, contrary to Oyster). If not, you lose the whole money withdrawn on check-in.
Which means you need to have 20,- euro on you chipcard when you take the train to Schiphol to fly out, making this trip quite costly if you don't return to the Netherlands.

Quote:
The Dutch OV Chipkaart readers display a color, a sound, and a written advise upon touching to certify your card is good for travel. The sound for successful check-in or failed check-in is clearly different. One is green, other is red.
Don't forget that soon the majority of people on public transit will be senior citizens, whose hearing and eyesight is not what it once was... Combine that with a bus or tram stops where lots of people want to get on or off, and there will be delays. At least with the oyster card you don't have to check out on buses.

Quote:
It is the obligation of the passenger to assure him/herself that he/she had the proper travel title.
And as I told you earlier: With a chipcard you cannot expect the passenger to be responsible for this anymore, as the individual passenger cannot audit the chipcard. So the burden is placed upon the transit company. Just wait for the first court case...
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Old June 6th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #248
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^
It just takes a generation to get used with the Chipkaart. The current generation already use the Studenten OV Chipkaart (students are traveling for free). They don't use papers-tickets for any public transportation anyway. So in the future they don't know better.

In the old days we had ticket counters with personals. Now we have ticket machines. In the beginning everybody was complaining that the counters were replace by machines. But today nobody complains anymore.

I guess only the main stations with cities 150.000+ inhabitants have a personal ticket-counter, that's only is used by elderly people or tourist.

Last edited by Mr_Dru; June 6th, 2011 at 12:41 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2011, 01:39 AM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Dru View Post
^
It just takes a generation to get used with the Chipkaart.
A generation? At most two weeks for 95% of the people.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #250
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Quote:
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A generation? At most two weeks for 95% of the people.
And in the third week they find out how to abuse the system to their advantage, leading to reduced revenue for the transit companies...
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Old June 8th, 2011, 07:10 PM   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
And in the third week they find out how to abuse the system to their advantage, leading to reduced revenue for the transit companies...
And who says there hasn't been users trying to cheat the system as it was/is?

One of the major problems of fare evasion in NL had been misuse of Student free travel cards on their previous incarnation as paper passes.

There is also the case of strangers, mostly the backpacker type, asking you to get a discount ride on a train your are boarding (someone with travel discount cards can take 2 more people travelling with discount, provided they are in the same route).
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Old June 9th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #252
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
There is also the case of strangers, mostly the backpacker type, asking you to get a discount ride on a train your are boarding (someone with travel discount cards can take 2 more people travelling with discount, provided they are in the same route).
How is that cheating?
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 09:23 AM   #253
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How much do you have to pay more for a ticket if you buy in the train? I had a lot of trouble buying a ticket in the netherlands because the machines don't accept notes =O only coins and credit cards, and maybe half of them not even coins ...
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:13 AM   #254
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How much do you have to pay more for a ticket if you buy in the train? I had a lot of trouble buying a ticket in the netherlands because the machines don't accept notes =O only coins and credit cards, and maybe half of them not even coins ...
You can't buy a ticket on board anymore. If the conductor comes, and you don't have a ticket whatever the reason you are a fare evader.
If you can identify yourself you can aply for an "uitstel van betaling", which means you don't have to pay the fine immediately, but can first appeal the fine, giving the reason for not having a ticket. And if you did indeed have a valid reason (not having enough coins for the ticket vending machine is not a valid reason) the fine might be waved.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:22 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
How much do you have to pay more for a ticket if you buy in the train? I had a lot of trouble buying a ticket in the netherlands because the machines don't accept notes =O only coins and credit cards, and maybe half of them not even coins ...
Count yourself among thousands of tourists who wonder the same. The NS ticket machines are absolutely retarded. They don't accept notes or major credit cards nor foreign debit cards. It's like they don't acknowledge the existence of the rest of the world.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 11:47 AM   #256
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You can't buy a ticket on board anymore. If the conductor comes, and you don't have a ticket whatever the reason you are a fare evader.
How much is the fine?
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:32 PM   #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
How much is the fine?
At least € 38 (plus any ticket costs).

Quote:
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Count yourself among thousands of tourists who wonder the same. The NS ticket machines are absolutely retarded. They don't accept notes or major credit cards nor foreign debit cards. It's like they don't acknowledge the existence of the rest of the world.
The machines at Schiphol Airport do accept credit cards. In any case, the best course of action for tourists is to buy a disposable OV Chipkaart and load it with money. As OV Chipkaart is being rolled in, I don't think NS will update its ticket machines, since they will be retired anyway soon.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 12:49 PM   #258
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The machines at Schiphol Airport do accept credit cards. In any case, the best course of action for tourists is to buy a disposable OV Chipkaart and load it with money.
You can't load additional cash onto a disposable OV Chipkaart. There are three types:

* Personalized OV Chipkaart. Obviously not suitable for tourists.
* Anonymous OV Chipkaart. Suitable for tourists, but it costs 7,50 which is a lot if you're only here for a few days.
* Disposable OV Chipkaart. Only the RET and the GVB currently offer them and you can't use them with any other company (so you can't take them on the train).

That means if you're visiting Holland as a family of 4 people, you'll spend 30 euro on buying an Anonymous OV Chipkaart. Then you have to activate them (a separate process) and then NS requires you to put at least 20 euro on each card or the machines won't let you check in.

NS isn't currently planning to offer an alternative.

Quote:
As OV Chipkaart is being rolled in, I don't think NS will update its ticket machines, since they will be retired anyway soon.
Doesn't excuse the initial stupidity.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:02 PM   #259
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When I went to Hongkong you could borrow a cheap rechargeable card at the airport suitable for all kind of public transport and even for vending machines throughout the city. Back at the airport a week later I could get a total refund of the bail and the money leftover on that card. Is it really that hard to go to a random Asian Metropolis and copy their public transport system?
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 01:39 PM   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slagathor View Post
* Anonymous OV Chipkaart. Suitable for tourists, but it costs 7,50 which is a lot if you're only here for a few days.
* Disposable OV Chipkaart. Only the RET and the GVB currently offer them and you can't use them with any other company (so you can't take them on the train).

That means if you're visiting Holland as a family of 4 people, you'll spend 30 euro on buying an Anonymous OV Chipkaart.
I didn't know Disposable OV Chipkaarts can't be used outside RET and GVB networks. Doesn't HET have them also?

Quote:
NS isn't currently planning to offer an alternative.
I think they could, then, revamp their ticketing machines, like allowing some form of refund to credit cards. Technically, it shouldn't be difficult to implement sector-specific disposable chipkaarts, e.g., the RFID equivalent of paper tickets, but I doubt NS will do that, as it would remove the incentives for buying a chipkaart.

Tourists are naturally expected to pay more for use of trains. Any person who rides trains in Netherlands more than 600km a year outside peak time is better of with a off-peak discount card. Tourists don't have that and thus pay 100% fares instead of 60% fares.

Quote:
Doesn't excuse the initial stupidity.
Not at all.
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