Recently, Translink has announced that the pilot with the ‘OV Chip mobiel’ will come to an end this June. Translink has now set its ambition to enable bankcard travel for public transport in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is still one of the few countries in the world, that has 1 system that, with the help of 1 card (the OV card), enables you to pay for all the public transport in the Netherlands. Although the system is quite unique in its kind, there are some downsides to the system. Most notably, the Netherlands being visited by ever increasing numbers of tourists, is the fact that one has to buy a specific card (the OV chip card) to be able to travel. That’s not the kind of convenience you would like to offer to visiting tourists. The result is quite often, that tourists buy single tickets on the bus/tram in Amsterdam, causing queues and delays. The cash handling was also a challenge, cost-wise and for safety reasons. That’s why in last March GVB has completed the full roll-out of a cashless system (another Ximedes assignment) in all the public transport vehicles in Amsterdam.
The Dutch government is also pushing for opening up to new ways of paying for your public transport travels. The OV card has, what can be called, a monopoly in the Netherlands, which doesn’t meet the European vision of opening up markets and enabling more competition.
So after the impressive success of bankcard travel in London, Translink has also initiated a program to start testing in what way bankcard travel can be introduced in the Netherlands.
Image: example from London
There are a few parties that have a keen interest in making this project a success. The EMV partners (Eurocard, VISA, Mastercard) are very keen on processing a huge amount of transactions, now being handled by the OV chip card scheme, which is basically a closed loop scheme. Banks also see an opportunity, as every bankcard transaction is generating revenue for the issuing banks (of the bankcard). The hardware providers that are registering the taps (or check-ins and check-outs). Existing suppliers need to ‘upgrade’ the validators in the field (now enabled to only read an OV card). New suppliers will seize the moment to enter the Dutch market with their EMV ready (and certified!) validators.
One thing we would almost forget: THE TRAVELLER! At the end, it’s always the end user who determines if an innovation becomes successful and mainstream. We’ve seen it with the recent success of ‘Tikkie’ (also a Ximedes development), that has really made it because of the rapid consumer adoption, where other, maybe even smarter solutions have already disappeared or are struggling to gain momentum.
So back to the traveller. Bankcard travel will only be a success, if the traveller can actually experience the advantages. There has to be convenience, a great user experience and – probably most important – TRUST. The best way to achieve this, is having a supporting mobile app. that helps and informs the traveller during his journey. Together with Translink and Scheidt & Bachmann, Ximedes is developing this app. The app support (and confirms) check-ins and check-outs, gives an overview of the recent trips, and the status of the trips (paid, not paid, checked in, etc.). For the moment intended to be an account based solution, with the end goal to enable an open solution as is implemented in London. We’re excited to be part of this journey. Keep an eye open for more of our updates in the near future, or simply reach out to us.