Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ride free until u get caught

Before coming to the Netherlands, we have heard about the public transportation slogan: Ride free until you get caught. It is said in such a sarcastic way. We never dare to test it. Long time back i read a news about a Chinese got caught in trains three times for not having tickets in France. I remember the results was, he could never find a job in the European countries since this history has been recorded, and this shows extremely bad reputation.

We slowly learned about this train system, of course, with some tuition paid.
Buy your ticket from automatic machine, rather than the ticket counter. You need to pay 50 euro cents more if you buy it from a person. We were not knowing for quite a while about this. At that time before we have our bank card, the only way to buy tickets from machine is to have coins. We have the cash and waited in line to buy the ticket. Every time we got a ticket, and also another receipt, not knowing why. There were signs showing something about what is the 50 cents about. We don't know since it was in dutch. We don't buy from the counter any more since we had our Chipnik chips on our bank card. Another better thing is, the ticket machine touch screen has English choice.

I hate this feeling of being deaf and blind living in this country. You can always ask and most of the people here speaks English, but it is never convenient to keep asking. We feel quite urgent need to learn the language.

Public transportation is not that cheap. I remember the Boulder express bus going from Boulder to Denver downtown 40 minutes at speed of 70 miles per hour, cost around $3.5 . First time we took the tram to Scheveningen, was also around this price in euros, similar duration, but at the tram speed with many stops.

Tram tickets was called stripped card. Same rule, if you buy it from the person on the tram, it costs more. You can buy it from the grocery stores. There were two types, one with 15 strips and the other with 45 strips. Their price, one is 6.8, and the other is 20.1. It was funny that the first time we bought it, we thought the price should be much cheaper if you buy more. And later when we calculated, the price per strip is only one cent cheaper if you buy 45 strips at one time rather than the 15 one.

So what is the possibility of free ride? From our experiences, if you take a short ride, highly possible. Like we went to Den Haag, or Rotterdam, 15 minutes ride, only two times our tickets were checked. For longer trip, trips to Amsterdam, every time tickets were checked.

My uncle and aunt live in Qingdao. For a while, my aunt tried to save money and reused her bus ticket. My uncle always told her, the money you saved for a trip can't even compensate for the dead brain cells because of anxiety in your ride. I don't remember how she stopped doing that. Now they are both in their 80s, and they can ride free because they are senior citizens. It is true, free ride might have side effect.

BTW, in the Netherlands, school kids can ride public transport free.

1 comment:

Rong said...

surprised you get to know the system so quickly and clearly...