Dutch public transport firms are earning €23m a year from passengers who forget to check out with their public transport smart cards, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.
The paper bases its claims on calculations by research group Panteia on behalf of rail users’ group Rover and the ANWB motoring and travel organisation.
Excluding costs, the public transport companies earn €17m from passengers who don’t swipe their card at the end of a journey, Panteia says. This is far higher than the transport groups have previously admitted.
Half of the ‘lost’ money goes to Dutch state railway firm NS, the Telegraaf says, altough the rail group does not confirm this. ‘We would be happy to return it [to passengers] but they have to report to us for us to do so,’ a spokesman said.
The report should have been published at the end of June but the official publication date has been delayed until the end of August because of a dispute with the public transport firms about the calculations, the Telegraaf says.
At the moment, passengers must have at least €4 on their card to use a tram and €20 to use a train which is automatically deducted when they first swipe the card.
If passengers forget to check out, they do not get back the money which they have not spent on travelling.
In March, the company behind the public transport smart card OV-chipkaart said it is beginning experiments with billing people for the journeys they have made on a monthly basis.
MPs have asked junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld to explain the claims and check out the figures quoted by the Telegraaf.
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