The Dutch Fare Experience: Towards a Customer Perspective

This article traces the history of public transportation management in the Netherlands, with emphasis on how fares and ticket systems have been determined and implemented over the past 30 years. In the early 1980s, Netherlands had one large transportation authority that financed the sector and approximately 30 publicly-held companies that managed the business. A nationwide fare system was instituted in 1980 that led to some dissatisfaction regarding how income was divided among the companies. The nationwide fare system also limited the ability of authorities to offer customized fares. Medium- and long-distance train travel was excluded from the fare system. In the early 1990s, magnetic-type ticketing was implemented, but management information and fare customization were still limited. In 2001, the public transportation sector structure was decentralized. Local and regional bodies took over the role of the national authority and public transportation companies competed for contracts. This change in structure made the nationwide fare system unworkable. A smart card system was proposed in its place. The proposed system would also encompass the Dutch rail sector. However, the system required a cumbersome check-in/check-out procedure by customers. This and other problems were difficult to resolve since potential solutions had to be discussed among 20 authorities and 50 concession operators. In order to help resolve some of these challenges, an authority is being created that should help push the smart card system forward.


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  • Accession Number: 01448689
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 8 2012 8:47AM