NETHERLANDS Railways’ passenger business NS Reizigers has decided to postpone until October the introduction of a new penalty fare scheme, designed to discourage passengers from boarding trains without tickets.

At present passengers can purchase tickets from train staff at a premium, but under the new proposals the penalty fare surcharge would increase to €35. Consumer organisations have criticised the proposals, claiming that passengers unable to buy a ticket from a defective machine will be expected to pay the penalty fare and claim it back later.

  • NS has selected the Rotterdam - Hoek van Holland line as the first route to test the new Dutch national smart card ticketing system, which is being developed to replace the Strippenkaart. Passengers will be able to obtain a smart card season ticket giving reduced fares, with discounts of up to 50% outside peak hours.