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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:43 PM   #901
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Something is missing from the discussion: the extensive use of bikes is in serious competition with local urban transportation (buses and trams), much more than with cars (contrary to widely held misconceptions abroad).

Randstad Rail seems to be doing okay, shuttling people to Den Haag and Rotterdam from suburbs located between then, though it serves a market where bikes are not efficient competitors. Rotterdam and Amsterdam are large enough to warrant subways and optimized light rail.

Urban transportation in smaller flat towns will have a tougher time in Netherlands attracting paying costumers. Many employment centers are more dispersed and located on outskirts of cities), and at the same time there is often bike usage competing with slow buses and slow trams (that operate within streets at low speeds).
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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #902
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Some adjustments for OV-Chipkaart

Since this had been a recurrent topic, I thought of posting these news

They updated the OV-Chipkaart website, which now has much more English pages than before, in case you are curious to know more about the system

Quote:
Automatic reload more convenient

Automatic reload is now more convenient. You no longer need to go to a public transport company counter to add or remove automatic reloading on your card. For new applications, automatic reloading will take place at € 0 instead of € 5.

No more extra steps

If you apply for a personal OV-chipkaart with automatic reloading, you can travel on the card immediately. You no longer need to go to a public transport company counter to add automatic reloading to your card. This is already set up, offering you increased convenience.

This also applies to OV-chipkaarts that have expired and are being replaced. If automatic reloading was set up on the expired card, it will also be activated on the new card. You no longer need to add it to the card.

Termination now available at pick-up devices

You also no longer need to go to a public transport company counter to terminate automatic reloading. You can remove automatic reloading from your card at a pick-up device. If you would prefer to go to a public transport company counter, this is still possible. In this case you will need to take your confirmation letter, OV-chipkaart and ID with you, as previously.

Automatic reloading when credit falls below € 0

For new automatic reloading applications, automatic reloading takes place when the credit on your OV-chipkaart falls below € 0. The credit on your OV-chipkaart can then be automatically increased by an amount you have chosen. For 'old' contracts, this takes place below € 5. You can see which amount applies to you in your online transaction overview. You can also see this at a pick-up device.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:59 PM   #903
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The myth of expensive rail travel in Netherlands

Often I read on different blogs and websites complaints about how expensive train travel is in the Netherlands. They usually compare the price of a ticket between two cities, divide by length in kilometers and make comparisons with other countries.

However, I think this method is increasingly obsolete for comparisons between European countries' rail systems. Some have deep advanced-purchase discounts (Spain, Italy), many others have subscription and/or discount plans. Netherlands belongs to the latter category.

For a starter, you can buy an unlimited train travel subcription that allows you to ride anywhere, anytime for € 309/month.

Then, you have a much cheaper € 99/month unlimited travel subscription for any time except trips beginning (as measured per check-in time) between Monday-Friday 6.30-9.00 / 16.00-18.30. So it is a pretty good deal for long train commutes if you can manage to start your trip earlier or postpone it a bit in the evening.

For € 20/month, you can have discounts of 20% peak-time and 40% off-time.

There are other plans as well.

This all shows how inappropriate it is to compare full ticket prices. Only the very occasional traveler ends up paying expensive full-fares. It takes just 2 round-trips Amsterdam-Eindhoven to make it worth the cheapest discount.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:02 PM   #904
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Something is missing from the discussion: the extensive use of bikes is in serious competition with local urban transportation (buses and trams), much more than with cars (contrary to widely held misconceptions abroad).
I kind of mentioned this when I explained that bus deregulation is not viable in NL due to people cycling instead of using the bus.

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com...re-should.html

shows that, in 2007, NL had the 3rd lowest PT usage in EU27, after Cyprus and Slovenia. However, it also had a below average usage of private cars/motorbikes, comparable to the usage in eastern Europe.

According to:

http://www.fietsberaad.nl/library/re...rlands2009.pdf

only 2% of trips shorter than 7.5 km are carried out by PT, despite the very high quality service. This is because 34% of trips are by bike and 27% of trips are walked, meaning only 36% of trips are by car, which is remarkably low for such a wealthy country.

So whilst bike wins convincingly against PT, bikes also compete quite well against cars for short distances.

I wonder why so many people use the bus to Utrecht university? I realise students don't pay in NL, but in Groningen most students seem to use bikes.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:25 PM   #905
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
This all shows how inappropriate it is to compare full ticket prices. Only the very occasional traveler ends up paying expensive full-fares. It takes just 2 round-trips Amsterdam-Eindhoven to make it worth the cheapest discount.
Naturally. With 40% off, the MOST anyone pays for a single trip in the Netherlands is €14.80. When fares are that low, you don't need heavily discounted 'book well in advance' fares.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:41 PM   #906
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I wonder why so many people use the bus to Utrecht university? I realise students don't pay in NL, but in Groningen most students seem to use bikes.
There is a catch: students can choose either weekdays or weekend free travel. Unless the student commutes from other city, it makes no sense to select weekday discount for two reasons:

- the weekday discount plan doesn't give free travel over summer holidays
- many students travel back to their hometowns on weekends, and would have to pay such fares

So, mostly, only students living in large cities far from university (with parents) end up signing up for the weekday free travel pass (you can cycle from Rhoon to Erasmus campus, but it is a long trip to do every day...)
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Old September 10th, 2013, 07:37 PM   #907
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Quote:
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So, mostly, only students living in large cities far from university (with parents) end up signing up for the weekday free travel pass (you can cycle from Rhoon to Erasmus campus, but it is a long trip to do every day...)
Ah, so most students in Groningen live in the town, as it is far away from most parts of the Netherlands, so won't get the weekday pass, whereas Utrecht students are far more likely to live with parents away from Utrecht as Utrecht is very accessible, being in the middle of the country, and near to many of the other big cities.

Last edited by radamfi; September 10th, 2013 at 07:43 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #908
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Originally Posted by radamfi View Post
Ah, so most students in Groningen live in the town, as it is far away from most parts of the Netherlands, so won't get the weekday pass, whereas Utrecht students are far more likely to live with parents away from Utrecht as Utrecht is very accessible, being in the middle of the country.
It depends mostly on cost of living in different cities. Housing in Utrecht and Amsterdam is very expensive, so it is more likely students will put up with long commutes. Housing in Rotterdam, Groningen, Tilburg is less expensive, so students are more likely to live in town.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 02:41 AM   #909
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In most cases, these bus are much more economical to run than trams. So unless there is a need for additional capacity, it's just as fast, and cheaper.
Almere is an excellent example. Fast, frequent, reliable.
Operating trams is in fact more economic than running buses for most lines in towns of 100'000 upwards. Hence the continued extension of tram networks all over Europe.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 02:55 AM   #910
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Often I read on different blogs and websites complaints about how expensive train travel is in the Netherlands. They usually compare the price of a ticket between two cities, divide by length in kilometers and make comparisons with other countries.

However, I think this method is increasingly obsolete for comparisons between European countries' rail systems. Some have deep advanced-purchase discounts (Spain, Italy), many others have subscription and/or discount plans. Netherlands belongs to the latter category.

For a starter, you can buy an unlimited train travel subcription that allows you to ride anywhere, anytime for € 309/month.

Then, you have a much cheaper € 99/month unlimited travel subscription for any time except trips beginning (as measured per check-in time) between Monday-Friday 6.30-9.00 / 16.00-18.30. So it is a pretty good deal for long train commutes if you can manage to start your trip earlier or postpone it a bit in the evening.

For € 20/month, you can have discounts of 20% peak-time and 40% off-time.

There are other plans as well.

This all shows how inappropriate it is to compare full ticket prices. Only the very occasional traveler ends up paying expensive full-fares. It takes just 2 round-trips Amsterdam-Eindhoven to make it worth the cheapest discount.
1)
You forget to mention that those plans are yearly plans. Yes, you pay monthly, but the contract is at least for a year. Which makes it highly inflexible. You would have to consider 3708 euro for the unlimited plan and 1188 for the off peak unlimited plan.

The unlimited plan exists also for a month being priced at 382 Euro. The off peak unlimited plan for 99 euro does not exists in the monthly form. In fact there are only two monthly plans available. The unlimited plan for 382 euro and the discount plan for 25 euro.

2)
For 3708 euro one can drive above 40 000 kms with a diesel car.

There are only two options when one would decide for a train unlimited plan.
a) The commuting would be well above 100 kms a day and one would like to work in the train.
b) Employer pays the full bill for the train, while not so for the diesel.

I suspect the majority of the clients on the unlimited plan are there because of the point b).
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Old September 11th, 2013, 02:58 AM   #911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
There is a catch: students can choose either weekdays or weekend free travel. Unless the student commutes from other city, it makes no sense to select weekday discount for two reasons:

- the weekday discount plan doesn't give free travel over summer holidays
- many students travel back to their hometowns on weekends, and would have to pay such fares

So, mostly, only students living in large cities far from university (with parents) end up signing up for the weekday free travel pass (you can cycle from Rhoon to Erasmus campus, but it is a long trip to do every day...)
If I remember it right, it was possible to switch the weekends and weekdays at least once a year. So the summer holiday would not be a problem...
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Old September 11th, 2013, 03:27 AM   #912
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Yeah, an above-ground extension in an area that is not exactly short on space:
The Utrecht tram line is rather heavy, more rail like. I agree. Its not really a city line. I can't imagine they would introduce another type of tram in Utrecht though, and the new extension doesn't go through the city, but rather tries to provide very fast connection. I think it is a good plan. Perhaps in the future it can go on to Zeist.

As I look at the map, wouldn't it be feasible to make the rail go from Utrecht through Uithof, alongside the A27 and A28 to Zeist and if get too far in imagination perhaps further on to Amersfort. I could make nice rail ring.
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Last edited by Surel; September 11th, 2013 at 03:35 AM.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 05:05 AM   #913
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surel View Post
If I remember it right, it was possible to switch the weekends and weekdays at least once a year. So the summer holiday would not be a problem...
But if students change it once, they need to wait another 12 months. Which means no more transport after summer holidays.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:24 AM   #914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surel View Post


2)
For 3708 euro one can drive above 40 000 kms with a diesel car.
I would really like to know what car this is, that can drive 40000 km without any wear or depreciation...
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Old September 11th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #915
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I would really like to know what car this is, that can drive 40000 km without any wear or depreciation...
Depreciation is not important for comparing train and car costs. Wear maybe taken into account but anyway its also not that relevant.

Why?

Because most of the people have the car anyway and have the depreciation and wear costs (also taxes, maintenance costs) anyway. All those costs are sunk costs and are not relevant for the decision of using the car or train. The only relevant costs are gasoline/diesel price versus comfort/speed/train ticket price. Thus the direct costs at the moment of the decision making whether to use the car or train for that given trip.


The decision for most people doesn't stand like this:
Should I buy a car or should I use the train?
The decision problem is:
Should I use the car or should I use the train?

Building the rail price as competing with the total km price of car transport is not a good strategy. The rail price should compete with the direct transport costs with a car.

Last edited by Surel; September 11th, 2013 at 02:22 PM.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #916
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Some depreciation happens simply because the car gets older, however some of it depends on how many km are on the clock.

Certainly Dutch season tickets are much cheaper than in Britain. I have a season ticket to London from 50 km away and it costs over 3000 GBP per year. For less than that I could get unlimited travel in NL. For a 100 km each way commute you are looking at 5000 GBP per year.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 07:54 PM   #917
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I thought also that you can claim a tax refund in NL for commuting costs, even by car?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:19 PM   #918
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surel View Post
The decision for most people doesn't stand like this:
Should I buy a car or should I use the train?
The decision problem is:
Should I use the car or should I use the train?
For urban population it sometimes is just that or more often the related two cars for a family or one is enough?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #919
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Because most of the people have the car anyway and have the depreciation and wear costs (also taxes, maintenance costs) anyway. All those costs are sunk costs and are not relevant for the decision of using the car or train.
That is true, but knowing that most of his travels will happen with PT, one may consider to buy a much cheaper/simpler car, spending a lot less money in tag price, maintenance and depreciation*. Also, maintenance costs are very usage-dependent.


And there's another option: apart for who lives in the fields, using only PT + taxi every time PT is not available is probably much cheaper than buying a car, and still having the freedom to travel at any time. Of course you must live in a place with a good taxi offer.

*EDIT: and also keep it for a much longer time.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:47 PM   #920
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And NS realises that as well, that's why they've entered into a partnership with several local taxi companies to offer the so-called "NS Zonetaxi": for the first couple of (fixed) kilometers, the customer pays a fixed price.

- 1 zone (up to 2 km from the station) costs € 7
- 2 zones (up to 4 km) costs € 11
- 3 zones (up to 6 km) costs € 15
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