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Old September 1st, 2014, 08:45 PM   #1961
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Compared to the way many other countries manage it, requiring the transportation companies to fund these discount themselves with cross-subsidization. Since the benefits are clearly separated from fare policy of NS or other train companies, it is easy to adjust them without having to revamp the whole thing (right now free travel for students is under fire).
I thought that student and similar discounts are required and subsidized by the state in all the EU.

That would be a very stupid thing to do. Not only would it reduce welfare rapidly and have long lasting negative external effects due to worsening the access to the education. It would be a huge bomb to the NS incomes. I think one forth of all passenger/kms are made by the students.

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Public != free at end-user point.
Public transport is meant to be used by the public, because otherwise the public lacks the service. If you construct the fare with the intention of make it prohibitive for certain part of public to use it at certain hours. You are quite clearly discriminating (in the economic sense) and you are putting the concept on its head. That is not what a public institution should be doing. It should instead look at the possibilities how to saturate that public demand.

Thus I don´t see reasoning of increased fare with access reduction as something legit. Temporarily, ok. But in the long term it is a stupid way to go.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 09:26 PM   #1962
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This just in: the first V250 trains will probably be returned to Italy this weekend. The necessary permits have almost been arranged, NS doesn't want to wait much longer.

The V250 ran its first revenue earning service on July 29th, 2012 between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, I was one of the people on board. I never was a fan of the V250 or the Fyra concept, but I never expected this to happen. Unfortunately, because what passengers are getting in return is much, much worse.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 10:03 PM   #1963
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I thought that student and similar discounts are required and subsidized by the state in all the EU.

That would be a very stupid thing to do. Not only would it reduce welfare rapidly and have long lasting negative external effects due to worsening the access to the education. It would be a huge bomb to the NS incomes. I think one forth of all passenger/kms are made by the students.
I don't think there is any EU mandate for student discounts. I surely know several countries where no such train ticket discount exists.

The debate is a bit more complex: right now, full-time students of higher education get 4 years of a "free" transportation card, which can be either a weekend+holidays or a weekday pass. This allows them to travel, for free, on any form of regular charged public transport, from InterCity trains to the fast ferries in Rotterdam.

CEntral government has agreements with the transportation companies to pay them, and it does indeed pay them nicely: the cost of an OV-Studentenchipkaart is around € 1600/year. There were plans to substitute the grant that covers it by loans for those that wnated to use it, as there is some perception the system is a bit abused.

In the end, it was decided the student pass will stay as a grant, but savings will have to be found to lower the cost. Namely and chiefly, government wants universities to, for the extent it is possible, stop having activities that start before 10.00 in the morning, so that pressure for morning peak travel is reduced and therefore costs (I don't know the details of contracts government signs with transport operators). The government suggested universities "shifted" most their opreations 2 hours forward, starting things at 9.45 and ending most classes at around 19.45, therefore reducing peak demand for travel, then pass will be kept as a grant-nature.

It is not mandatory, but as an insider (of a uni. administration, not transport company) I can tell there has been quite a "strong" message coming to the unis. from the minister in terms of making serious plans to adjust their daily schedules and an even stronger request to delay classes or other activities that attract many students on Monday morning until after 9.30.

There had never been a plan to scrap things altogether and charge students for the whole thing.


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Public transport is meant to be used by the public, because otherwise the public lacks the service. If you construct the fare with the intention of make it prohibitive for certain part of public to use it at certain hours. You are quite clearly discriminating (in the economic sense) and you are putting the concept on its head. That is not what a public institution should be doing. It should instead look at the possibilities how to saturate that public demand.
At least with NS, the problem is the following: on most trunk lines, capacity is a problem at peak times. Only expensive projects, some of them ongoing, can increase capacity, can address several bottlenecks. The train system cannot just grow by putting more trains there, because there are no paths available.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 10:34 PM   #1964
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If you take the trains into account then it might hold. If we talk about just local public transport..not true.
Are you saying that local public transport is better in the Netherlands than Switzerland?
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Old September 1st, 2014, 10:35 PM   #1965
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I think they are both as good?
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Old September 1st, 2014, 10:49 PM   #1966
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What about tourists?
They are big users of the facilities at stations...
Well, some of them may have an OV-Chipkaart, but many won't. The shops will therefore miss some business, but nothing like that of British stations where you can only access the platform areas if you have a ticket. Of course, Dutch tourists will mostly have an OV-Chipkaart.

In much of Britain, you are not even allowed to access platform areas without a ticket where there are no gates, as they are a "compulsory ticket area". If you get caught walking back from the platform by an inspector, they could give you a penalty fare, even if you didn't get on a train.

For most of their railway history, Britain and Ireland have used barriers to stop passengers reaching the platforms unless they have a ticket. There was a class of train worker called the 'ticket collector'. Of course that was very labour intensive, so that generally stopped in Britain in the 80s, replaced by so called 'open stations'. After privatisation in the mid 90s, the train companies decided to mostly abandon open stations in favour of automatic barriers.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:01 PM   #1967
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I think they are both as good?
Certainly they are the best two in the world. In general, my favourite country is NL but I have to give CH the slight edge on public transport because the rail network is so much more comprehensive and there CH is more likely to run services with trams and trolleybuses rather than diesel buses.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:03 PM   #1968
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In Switzerland you would normally only have to deal with a validator or a ticket vending machine once a day, at the beginning of your trip. Most people have transit passes, this requires you to go to the ticket office or a machine once a year, and after that all you need to do is have your pass with you...
Doesn't matter. It's the principle of your story: Being in a hurry and therefore not having a valid proof of payment. You running past the pole could be Switzerlandized to you running through the station directly to the train running straight past the ticket machine. It's not the systems fault.

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Actually you can buy S-Bahn tickets from any DB ticket vending machine. If you arrive by train you don't even need to buy an S-Bahn ticket...
Are S-bahns operated by DB? That would explain a lot.

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There is actually a station in The Netherlands where only an NMBS train stops. It has only an NS card reader. What is according to you the procedure when traveling to/from that station?
Buy a valid NMBS ticket then. It's puzzeling to me why you even ask. Of course there have to NMBS tickets available at a ticket machine of some sort. And I guess the NS reader is for unforseen circumstances. Makes sense to place them everywhere on the network now so when you might have to use the station you don't have thousands of people filling in forms to have their €20 deposit back because they were unable to check out. Or NS just didn't give it any thought and just equipped all the stations they own.

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The system is not going to keep fare evaders out.
Not completely, but it's a good deterrent.

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If validating before travel is so logical, then why does almost no railway require it?
Other companies don't sell dateless tickets? NS used to. You had to validate it. And of course the tickets with the date on them have been validated the moment they go through the ticket machine and get a date/time stamp.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:13 PM   #1969
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There is actually a station in The Netherlands where only an NMBS train stops. It has only an NS card reader. What is according to you the procedure when traveling to/from that station?
That station is Eijsden, it is one of the few stations which belong to the NS operated Hoofdrailnet but that are not served by NS. Other stations are Enschede de Eschmarke and Glanerbrug (trains operated by DB Regio). This has to do with some technical limitations: between Eijsden and Maastricht-Randwijck there is a power change (Eijsden is under Belgian 3 kV), and between Enschede and Glanerbrug there's no OHLE at all.

As NS trains can't reach those stations but NMBS and DB do, the trains are run by those companies. Because the stations belong to the NS network from a concessionary point of view, there are NS validators on the platforms.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:13 PM   #1970
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Are you saying that local public transport is better in the Netherlands than Switzerland?
No. I am saying that if I would not take into the account the rail network, or, in another way, I would consider only the local public transport, not only Switzerland (if), in Europe, has a better local public transport than the Netherlands.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:20 PM   #1971
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At least with NS, the problem is the following: on most trunk lines, capacity is a problem at peak times. Only expensive projects, some of them ongoing, can increase capacity, can address several bottlenecks. The train system cannot just grow by putting more trains there, because there are no paths available.
Therefore I said, temporarily ok.

Let's put it in another way. NS wants to achieve a Metro like system. Imagine a metro, where rush hour fares would be doubled... Yeah, profitable, but pretty much dumb.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:32 PM   #1972
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Why dumb? You prefer this? Preventing that and making more money, seems like a good strategy. Remember there are already crowds now in some places.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:34 PM   #1973
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Therefore I said, temporarily ok.

Let's put it in another way. NS wants to achieve a Metro like system. Imagine a metro, where rush hour fares would be doubled... Yeah, profitable, but pretty much dumb.
That already happens, almost.

Everyone that uses trains more than 200km/year is better off with the 40% off-peak card.

Most people train user have the card. So there is alrady de-facto peak fares that 67% more expensive at peak times (6.30-9.00; 16.30-19.00 weekdays)

But that is not all, NS got a preliminary authorization to raise fares and subscriptions allowing peak time traffic by 10% and 6%, respectively, while also lowering the basic off-peak fares by 17% (base fares, before accounting for discounts).
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:37 PM   #1974
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In Switzerland, a regular single fare is the same price all day long, as it is in the Netherlands. However, you do kind of pay 67% more in peak hours in the Netherlands as the Dal Voordeel gives 40% off outside rush hours and the Dal Voordeel only costs €50 a year. Even in Switzerland, they charge 22% more for the day ticket before 0900 (71 vs 58 CHF)
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:39 PM   #1975
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Why dumb? You prefer this? Preventing that and making more money, seems like a good strategy.
I did not notice that NL is Mumbai. Would flat fare make Mumbai out of NL in the long term? It is about the goals that you want to achieve and that you set. If you set a goal for a system that is able to handle the rush hour, you will get there. It works on the roads. It works on the rails as well.

Now if you can't temporarily increase the capacity, you need to implement some measures. The key word is temporarily. Another important thing is that the overcrowding is quite locally specific. Not all the lines suffer from the same effect. Flat adoption of differentiated fares is then not optimal, right?

Third, I don't think that a public service should be there to make money. It's first and utmost goal is to produce welfare, not create profit. If I should concentrate on making money, I would privatize the ProRail and NS .
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:42 PM   #1976
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In Switzerland, a regular single fare is the same price all day long...
But not for a long time from now, I fear.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:44 PM   #1977
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Are S-bahns operated by DB? That would explain a lot.
Some are indeed...

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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:45 PM   #1978
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That already happens, almost.

Everyone that uses trains more than 200km/year is better off with the 40% off-peak card.

Most people train user have the card. So there is alrady de-facto peak fares that 67% more expensive at peak times (6.30-9.00; 16.30-19.00 weekdays)

But that is not all, NS got a preliminary authorization to raise fares and subscriptions allowing peak time traffic by 10% and 6%, respectively, while also lowering the basic off-peak fares by 17% (base fares, before accounting for discounts).
I know that it happens. And I think nothing good of it.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:56 PM   #1979
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Again, I think it is interesting to demonstrate the contrast in Britain, this time regarding rush hour fares. A return ticket from London to Manchester (300 km) costs 321 GBP in rush hours, more than 4 times what it costs outside rush hours (79.70 GBP). And if you book well in advance, you can get that for as little as 12.50 GBP single.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 12:01 AM   #1980
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Again, I think it is interesting to demonstrate the contrast in Britain, this time regarding rush hour fares. A return ticket from London to Manchester (300 km) costs 321 GBP in rush hours, more than 4 times what it costs outside rush hours (79.70 GBP). And if you book well in advance, you can get that for as little as 12.50 GBP single.
Britain has gone over the top treating train fares as airline pricing. I unexpectedly had to take the train once from Leeds to Stevenage, paying 92 GBP. Compare that with the fare (fair) I paid once for going from Jenbach (Austria) to Turin for 60 euros, also pay as I went...
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