Mobile Payment for Public Transport?
The OV-chipcard is one of the most discussed topics in the last decade. While at one side its introduction was welcomed by those who thought that train tickets were too old fashioned, on the other hand others reasoned it would be too complicated and would lead to many problems. Criticists have argued that the transition from train tickets to chipcards has been too quick. Students have been in doubt for a while whether this card would still mean free public transport during their years as a student.
But isn’t this system already old fashioned and outdated? Should there not be something more user-friendly and innovative than this simple card? Tim Huges, executive at NS, thinks there are more up-to-date technologies that will suit paying for public transport better than the current OV-chipcard. For example the fact that a person who wants to travel by train from Rotterdam to The Hague always needs to ensure there is at least €20 on his card. For a family with two kids this means quite an investment if they are planning on going on a day-trip. In the same way as some of us are paying for their cup of coffee via MyOrder, it should be possible to pay for public transport by phone. Maybe we could even use our bank card to pay for using the tram to get to uni.
To some extent it is true that the OV-chipcard might not be the best and easiest solution for those using public transport. However, would using your mobile phone or bankcard not lead to new privacy and adoption issues? The OV-chipcard has a history of leaking confidential user information through its website. Would travelers be willing to use their bank cards for traveling?
The Dutch travelers union reasons that NS is thinking too much the technology behind the OV-chipcard, whilst it should be mainly focused on the wishes and needs of public transport users. I agree to this: the main focus in the context of improving payment procedures for public transport should be what is most convenient for travelers. If this simply means improving the current chipcard system there is no need to introduce mobile or bankcard payments.