Come next year, student commuters are required to check in and out with their public transport smart card at all times. Dutch Railways (NS) will make spot checks on students even during the periods of free travel. However, fines will not be handed out immediately.
Students are already required to check in currently in buses, underground trains, trams and regional train services. NS had initially wanted to make all student check-ins mandatory by the end of 2012 when paper train tickets will be abolished. However, the train company wants to encourage students to develop this habit early.
Someone who has checked in and then transfers from an NS train to a regional service line (or vice versa) has to first check out with the first service provider and then check in with the other. This procedure will stay the same for the time being.
NS also advises students to buy a paper ticket if they travel on concession rates. This is often cheaper and does not require checking in.
The transport company launched an information campaign yesterday to make students aware of the changes. About 650 thousand students have a student travel pass which allows them to travel free of charge on weekdays or in the weekends.