NS and NFC Payment – DTP Team 17
Nederlandse Spoorwegen N.V. or ‘Dutch Railways’ is the biggest train operator in the Netherlands, fully owned by the state. It is famous for their yellow trains with blue letters. During business days NS serves over 1,2 million people within the Netherlands.
We sought to analyse the Dutch railway operator NS, its current use of IT, and suggest a new IT application that could potentially transform their business. Current IT applications of NS include the Reisplanner Xtra application for phones and tablets, use of social media to engage with the customer, and the OV Chipkaart. This last one has been the focus of this paper, with the suggestion to replace the OV Chipkaart with NFC payment.
In 2007 NS introduced the OV Chipkaart instead of the paper ticket. This is a wireless smart card, provided with an invisible chip. This chip can communicate with equipment in the Netherlands. The smart card makes it easier and safer for the traveller. For the public transport companies it makes it easier to determine the deployment of capacity, resources and people. And, the sharing of revenue is faster and more fairly distributed.
The suggestion is to take out the need for a separate OV Chipkaart, by making use of other NFC equipped payment products, such as bank cards or mobile devices. This would play into recent developments in the area of NFC payment, and simplify the process of taking a train by not having to separately charge your OV Chipkaart. It would improve ease of payment for and accessibility of the NS railway system.
After the analysis of costs and benefits, it became clear that a more thorough look into the benefits is needed, to determine their size and impact. Therefore, the managerial recommendations are divided into four stages: stakeholder management, pilot, implementation and maintenance. The second stage, pilot, will allow NS to gain a better understanding of the costs and benefits, which allows them to make a better informed decision on whether to pursue this project. There is always the option to not proceed to the next stage if things do not seem favourable enough.
To illustrate these stages and how they interact, we have provided a sample timetable below. Since the idea behind using stages is to remain flexible and not commit to a full-size project straight away, this timetable is very subject to change. However, it still illustrates the sequence of stages and the continuous nature of stages 1 and 4 (stakeholder management and maintenance respectively). Next to that it shows that stage 4, maintenance, could already start while stage 3, implementation, is still ongoing.