I thought that the worst was over. Fat hope. It's getting more ludicrous as the days go by. It's the classical battle between good (I, I think) and bad (who really?). Anyway, here's an update:
1. Money has disappeared from my card in an explainable way. A little more than 10 euros, not much but enough to kick up a fuss.
2. Fanatical bus drivers won't admit me into the bus anymore. They say that I have to use my Smartcard, but I refuse to because of problem 1.
Luckily, problem 2 can be overcome. I have, in the meantime, been accustomed to confrontations. In addition, I don't come across that many fanatical bus drivers.
On a rainy Friday afternoon, I decide to get to the heart of the matter. Hitherto, I'd only harassed my enemy by calling a 0900-number. I'd wait half an hour, and then be informed: 'That's a technical problem, and we don't deal with it. You've lost money, so it's your problem'. Today, cold and wet, I stand before a train station counter. The enemy here is much friendlier, I must say.
'That's very annoying; we've had this problem often before, but the Smartcard company says we can't do anything about it. They feel that the card has been tampered with.' I am told to go to the education service centre (IB-Group). Alright, that's where I'll go.
A sign says: 'If you do not have a Public Transport Smartcard, we can't help you'. I do have a Smartcard, so I will be given help. Wrong reasoning. The organization says it has nothing to do with the Smartcard. In the heavy rain, I phone the 0900-number again. When I finally get someone at the other end of the line, the connection is cut off. I give up.
Once, I happen to be in Utrecht Central Station. I insert my card into another version of the loading device. Perplexed, I stare at the machine. 'Yes, it's done', says a Smartcard employee dressed in pink. He offers me pink cakes in a basket. I deserve two of these, took them and walk away.
And I don't even eat pink cakes.