środa, 28 grudnia 2011

Cards for transportation

Just after I received my dutch debit card, I took my banking "calculator" and bought online my own OV-chipkaart. It's a smart tricky system working in the whole Windmill Country used for fast, simple and effective payment for the tickets in the public transport.

How does this work? You get a plastic card with your picture and name (or anonymous, but this version of the card is possible to buy only in some vending machines at the train stations or in ticket offices). The card should be charged with any amount of Euro in one of these machines. You can also buy any kind of service (like monthly ticket) and put on the card. Than it's childishly simple. You get in to any train, bus, tram or subway, you check in by approaching your card to the scanner and go. When you're getting off don't forget to check out in exactly same way, otherwise you're gonna be charged with the maximum cost of the trip, 4 Euro (it's also the credit your card is being frozen with when you're getting in). That's also the reason you need to have at least these 4 Euro on your card to travel with the ov-chipkaart system. Otherwise the driver may ask you to get out or buy a single way ticket. Of course you can easly buy these single way tickets with a lovely name enkeltje at any time, but they are a bit expensive and not profitable if you're traveling on a short distances. 

It all sounds great, isn't it? However it's not so perfect. It's good as long as you don't have a need to use their customer service center. What happened to me... I applied for the card, sent my picture and paid. It says I should get my card within 7 working day. Two weeks later without getting any, I contacted them to check what's going on. It appeared that in some magical way my application got lost and they don't have it in their system. So they asked me to send them all my data by mail, so they can check for sure. They did: still can't find. They asked me for sending them a confirmation of my payment. Still nothing. So what did they do? Asked me to fill the form online, pay again and sent the application once more. Meantime they'll give me back the money I already paid. Meantime in this case means up to 3 weeks. Really? What the fuck?... Can't they just use the whole data, informations and payment confirmation I gave them and send me this stupid card?! Is it what complicated? Dumb bureaucracy...

Summerizing, their customer service sucks! And it's not only my opinion. They are not really helpful. I told them to go to hell. Unfortunatelly since my bicycle got stolen if I want to be somehow mobile (and not overpay) I had to finally get this damn card. But this time I went to train station and the vanding machine did nicely, politely and immidiately spit out my new anonymous OV-chipkaart. I am pleased with the whole system, but the customer service I simply try to avoid. 

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