There turned out to be an error in the annual calendar that Regisseur Studenten Reisrecht (RSR) had sent to the transport operators. Students travelling by train didn’t have this issue, since Dutch Railways relied on its own calendar. The very same day, RSR informed students via social media that they could recover their undue payments at a ticket machine.
Since then, only 21 percent of the nearly 73,000 students affected have taken the trouble of dropping by a ticket machine, notes the public transport ombudsman in his quarterly report. He wonders whether the organisations involved have done enough to inform students about the refund. According to the ombuds, they need to make an effort to pay everyone back.
At present, RSR – which is responsible for the mistake and for communicating with the students – wouldn’t know what else they could do. “We’ve made it as easy as possible for the students. They don’t have to submit a statement or anything: the correct amount has already been reserved for them. All they have to do is drop by a ticket machine,” says an RSR spokesperson.
They have announced this on multiple occasions via social media and the press. Contacting all students personally isn’t an option, since they don’t have everyone’s phone number or e-mail address.
The biggest obstacle seems to be students’ willingness to drop by a ticket machine. “In many cases, we’re talking about a modest amount, in the area of 98 cents. Students won’t make much of an effort for that kind of money. And they aren’t the only ones – the public’s response to operations of this kind is often lukewarm.”
RSR will be monitoring whether more refunds have been claimed by the end of this week. “It would be a pity if the money isn’t paid back. It’s no use to us either. It belongs to the student, so it needs to be transferred to his or her balance.” In principle, the owed amount will remain available until the student’s card expires.