Soon, students will be able to check in with their mobile phones when using public transportation. That will also put an end to the steep fines students incur if they delay terminating their ‘travel product’.
New payment methods are to be introduced for public transportation. This will affect students who now have their travel rights included in their ov-chip card. In the future, this will no longer be necessary, according to a bill the cabinet has posted online for consultation (links to Dutch content). The proposal has yet to be submitted to parliament. During the internet consultation, anyone can propose improvements.
End of 2023
The new payment methods are to be implemented between now and the end of 2023, the explanatory note states, which means students, too, will use them. This calls for an amendment to the study grant legislation. Since the introduction, students must activate their ‘travel rights’ at a delivery machine. As soon as their rights expire, they must terminate them at a delivery machine as well.
This applies to some 250 thousand students per year. A tardy termination results in a fine, a construction that has earned the travel businesses tens of millions of euros. These businesses thus tried to maintain the current situation for as long as possible, a HOP reconstruction shows.
Dat moeten elk jaar zo’n 250 duizend studenten doen. Wie te laat is, krijgt boetes. Daar hebben de vervoersbedrijven vele tientallen miljoenen euro’s aan verdiend en ze deden ook hun best om deze situatie zo lang mogelijk voort te laten duren, bleek uit een reconstructie van het HOP.
Even in 2020, when student travel was greatly reduced as a result of the covid pandemic, they still paid 6,5 million euros in fines. ‘Going to a delivery machine does not match students’ lifestyle. They are accustomed to doing things online’, the cabinet states.
Pressure from the house of representatives resulted in a change in policy preventing students from having to pay a fine if they have not used their ov-card at all. Other ways to lower the fines were also developed.
But all that will soon be much simpler. In the future, travel businesses will automatically terminate students travel provisions when DUO reports they no longer have travel rights. The fines will not disappear entirely, the cabinet warns. Those that use travel rights to which they are not entitled will still be fined.