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Rover sees no point in creating even more obstacles for NS passengers.

The Dutch Railways (NS) are making a change to the system for the Samenreiskorting, which, according to the organization, is intended to simplify the scheme and prevent abuse. However, this adjustment is criticized by travelers association Rover as unnecessarily complex and an obstacle to the use of public transport.

From April 22, 2024, it will no longer be possible to load the Samenreiskorting directly onto an OV chip card at an NS ticket machine. Instead, NS is introducing a system of Samenreiscodes, which must be generated online by NS season ticket holders and then shared with fellow travelers via email or WhatsApp. These codes can be used within three days to order a Samenreisticket Off-Peak or link it to an NS Flex subscription.

This new process marks a clear shift from physical interaction with a ticket machine to a fully digital system, where NS hopes to avoid ambiguities and discussions at the ticket machine. According to the NS, the measure should help to limit traveling with strangers, something the organization sees as an undesirable use of the Samenreiskorting.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - NS - first class.

NS wants to increase the price factor of the first class compared to the second class to 1,7. This is in line with their research last year into the appreciation of first class, the effect of not indexing first class and travelers' interest in first class. Last year, Rover therefore provided positive advice on an earlier increase. In line with previous years, they will advise positively on your new proposal this year, given the results of this research.

Rover, the travelers association, stands critical towards this innovation. Freek Bos, director of Rover, expresses doubts about the necessity of this measure. He emphasizes that there is no clear evidence that travelers massively abuse the system by traveling with strangers. Moreover, it has always been possible to take a maximum of three people with you with a 40% discount, a scheme that was created to compete with the car - which often travels with four people at a fixed rate. Rover sees the new requirement for Together Travel Codes as an unnecessary complication that makes the use of the train more difficult, especially for groups of friends.

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A proposal by the NS to limit the number of times per month that season ticket holders can apply for the Samenreiskorting to three times is not possible objections from Rover and other consumer organizations. This means that it remains possible for travelers to make unlimited use of the Samenreiskorting, provided they follow the new process and travel with a maximum of three acquaintances.

The change in the Samenreiskorting system reflects a broader trend in public transport towards digitalization and the use of technology to streamline processes. However, the question remains whether this technological progress does not come at the expense of accessibility and ease of use for the average traveler.

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