NETHERLANDS: The much-delayed national roll-out of the OV-chipkaart smart card across the rail network was completed on July 9. All passengers are now required to check in and out at station readers using a ticket with either a smart chip or a printed barcode.

Testing of the multimodal smart card had begun in Rotterdam in 2005, when target date for the roll-out was 2008. However the project became mired in delays and cost over-runs (RG 1.09 p 41).

A disposable single-use chipkaart for single, return and day tickets is available from vending machines and ticket offices, but there is a surcharge of €1 to cover the additional cost of the smart card. Domestic print-at-home tickets with barcodes can be used without the surcharge.

Passengers making international journeys can obtain a free single-use chipkaart, or scan barcodes printed on international tickets.