Public transport

MPs are today holding an emergency debate into the public transport card (OV-chipkaart ), the problem-plagued public transport card that is supposed to revolutionise bus, tram and train travel.

Such are the problems with the card that one paper today branded it the ‘OV shit card’ on its front page.
The card is supposed to be safe and convenient to use. But it’s not. German and Dutch hackers have broken into the code and the reputable applied science institute TNO yesterday apparently confirmed the hackers’ findings.
The personal data on the card is supposed to be used only for the purpose of travelling. But it’s not. It has emerged that Amsterdam planned to use the data for marketing purposes and store it for seven years! Both of which are against the law.
And the card is not even reliable. In its experiment with the card, Rotterdam has so far had to refund 13,000 transactions that were incorrectly deducted.
Meanwhile the cost of the project is mounting. Originally scheduled for 2007, postponed to 2009, the introduction of the card now looks to be set for 2010 at the earliest.
The management of a major transport project has once again failed. Holland is still reeling from the mistakes made with a freight railway link with Germany and a high-speed rail link with Belgium and France.
Meanwhile the transport ministry is busy with a plan to introduce a road-pricing system with an electronic chip card… let’s hope it has learnt its lesson.

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