Rail operator NS in the Netherlands is to pilot a contactless open loop fare payment system that will enable passengers to pay for their train fares by tapping their physical debit or credit card or their digital debit card stored on a smartphone or smartwatch at the beginning and the end of their journey.
NS is trialling the system with a limited number of passengers with a view to rolling out contactless open loop ticketing across its entire national network for all users.
Passengers wishing to take part in the trial will first have to register at one of six stations — Amsterdam Central, Rotterdam Central, The Hague Central, Utrecht Central, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Delft — and will then be able to travel on all NS routes in the Netherlands by tapping in and out with their contactless debit or credit card at a fare gate or card reader.
“With this test, checking in and out for the train is just as easy and fast as a contactless payment for your groceries,” NS director Ivo Steffens says.
“You no longer have to go to a ticket machine to buy a ticket or load your balance, but you can check in immediately and quickly catch your train. It’s all about convenience — even if you don’t have a season ticket, you can use the train without taking an extra step.”
“The pilot is intended to gain insight into the experiences of travellers,” NS adds.
“With customer surveys among the participants, we look at, among other things, user-friendliness, comprehensibility and the operation of the technology in order to improve the service.
“After the trial, NS intends to make this new way of travel possible for all train passengers who want to travel easily without taking an extra step without a discount or subscription.”