From the end of this month, people using Rotterdam’s metro will have to use the new public transport smart card because officials are determined to press ahead with the project, despite all the problems.
Now it emerges that some 200,000 people paid too much in fares last year because they forgot to check out when leaving a bus or tram.
For some bizarre reason, you have to pay €4 in advance for your journey. It’s only when you get off that the system behind these cards decides how much your journey cost and pays back what you have not spent.
Rotterdam insists it has not made any money on this because of all the costs it has made sending back those unused euros. So why do it? Perhaps it is a complicated way to stamp out fare-dodging. But if the system is really so clever, no-one will be able to get on a tram or bus without a ticket anyway.
The over payments are only one of the problems associated with the new payment system. There are privacy concerns – it will be easy to trace card holder’s movements – and, of course, the card itself seems to be pretty easy to forge.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that the public don’t seem to like them. Only one in three public transport users in Rotterdam uses the card. All the more reason to make everybody do it from January 29.