News - November 18, 2010

Public transport smart card sadist

My relationship with the public transport smart card got off to a poor start.

Initially, my card could not be recharged and Customer Service (€0.10 per minute) said that was my problem, not theirs. After all, my product was working according to their computer.
Since then, things have been going well with my card. My last real problem dates from a month ago. Then the gates said 'out of order'. But the driver said that was rubbish because there was no error message on his screen. 'Look, my panel says the system's working so it must be your card that's not working.'
Unfortunately I was still allowed to get on the bus and equally unfortunately such annoyances are a rarity these days anyway. That really depresses me because my poor start has made me into a real public transport smart card sadist. The smart card must be a failure and so I avoid conversations with enthusiastic smart card travellers and soak up bad experiences. Every gate that is out of order confirms me in my opinion. But of course, if you are still allowed to walk through anyway there is not really much for me to get annoyed about. And although I don't like to admit it, even checking out in the packed number 88 bus works quite well these days. A pity. Where is the unsympathetic bus driver for me to practice my discussion skills on?
My cynicism was gradually disappearing and I had nearly turned into a satisfied smart card traveller - until one busy day I had to stand next to the terminal. Really, those things are boiling hot (especially the Veolia ones). They even have a special grate to let out all the hot air. In other words: how much energy is a terminal like that using? And how much extra CO 2 is the Netherlands producing thanks to this ridiculous system? I smile as that wonderful feeling of anger returns.
With renewed enthusiasm I surf to the card's digital Customer Service. To my great annoyance I discover my experience is not in the list of frequently asked questions, and to my even greater annoyance I first have to fill in a huge list before I can ask my question. I angrily fill in the entire form and equally angrily click 'send'. Wow, I feel better for that. Let's hope I have to wait a scandalously long time for my answer.