I use it often on Amsterdams Metro
Yet another IT geek in Amsterdam..
I've had one of these for a year now and use it a lot. The whole roll-out is a farce. We've had the portal gates installed for ages. But one always stands open, with attendants at the head of the stairs to do the real checking, (at least they are a relatively cheerful lot). Some of the portals have now failed, and the card purchase/recharge machines are often broke. many stations only have one of these, so I end up 'Zwart Rijden' (black riding) just because I cannot add credit to my card. The machines themselves are a classic example of cheap stuff done badly.
Some of the more secure cards (only the temporary cards that suffer the security problems) are supposed to auto-recharge from your bank-account when they drop below 5Eur credit. Mine fails to do this; but given the crapness of these idiots that comes as a relief, they'd probably just take random amounts..
There was a fantastic incident when they were demonstrating this new kit to the press, first the chief guest's card failed to work. Then a flunky used a 'pre-prepared' card to open the portal, which promptly tried to close as they walked through, crunch. Sums it up really.
The real problem is that the individual transport companies (GVB in amsterdam, RET in Rotterdam, others elsewhere) are hopeless. Truly Hopeless, in fact more than that; pathetically hopeless and then some.. with knobs on.
In Amsterdam we have; Electronic platform signs that are often just plain wrong, or display random errors and garbled text. Sporadic cleaning, poor maintenance of everything, years old graffiti in the trains.
- Train drivers who are antisocial and lazy, at my local terminus they don't stop where the stairs are, they stop at the other end, where the coffee machine is. Another favourite of the drivers is turning the heating off in the winter and leaving the doors open at the terminus's. In summer, the heating gets turned on and the doors left in auto-close.
- But the sh1tness goes all the way to the top too. There is a singular inability to roll out new kit, the chipcard is just part of this.. I suspect the drivers attitude comes partly from working for a bunch of obvious tossers who's chief skill is shifting blame down the foodchain.
Last week a metro derailed in the tunnel near central station, it took them over an hour to get the power turned off and checked. The flack from this (the fire service in particular are livid..) might just bring some improvement, but I doubt it. Working in Dutch public transport is a sinecure.
These days I mostly ride my bike, but when I came here my initial experience of the system was a shock. They managed to be worse then the UK.. and that takes some doing.