Who knows, maybe the next government will make major cuts, but there is little chance of a cut in the public transport card for students. After all, that makes no sense, Minister Dijkgraaf explained in a written consultation with Parliament. The CDA had asked questions about it.

If the government wanted to cut back on the ov-studentenkaart, for instance by shortening the travel right for a year, the revenues of the railway company NS would drop and that would have to be compensated, according to agreements.

Such a ‘saving’ would therefore achieve little: the money would still flow to NS. “By the way, I stress that the cabinet has no intentions to adjust the student travel card”, Dijkgraaf said.

Less travel

But in another way, the reimbursement can still go down, and it will. This is because students travel less on public transport than before. That is why the public transport companies receive 207 million euros less from the Ministry of Education.

So this reduction is not because the policy is changing, but because students take the train or bus less often. The exact compensation to transport companies depends on students using public transport.

In the written consultation, political parties asked all kinds of questions about the impact of this discount on the transport companies: what about future accessibility in the more remote areas?

To cushion the blow, the companies will still get money for this in 2024, but through the Ministry of Infrastructure. The cabinet has also allocated an extra 300 million euros for public transport in the remote areas.

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Students' interests

The CDA wanted to know how the cabinet considers the interests of students. What is the value of the public transport card if the bus no longer brings them to their university? Budget cuts threaten to make all kinds of connections disappear.

Of course good public transport is important, replies Dijkgraaf, but who should pay for it? The government believes ‘that students should not foot the bill for maintaining public transport’.

After all, students’ travel rights are not free; they take out a loan for this, which they have to repay if they do not graduate within ten years. This loan goes down as students travel less and the Ministry of Education pays less money to the companies.

This year, the monthly loan amount for the ov student card has indeed fallen. Students now borrow 115 euros a month for their travel entitlement, six euros less than last year.


GroenLinks-PvdA asked whether the cabinet could perhaps extend the student travel right to support public transport. Dijkgraaf is not going to do that, he replied. “The possible choice to extend the travel right is up to a next cabinet,” he said.

Large numbers of travellers were at stake in the political debate. This year, an estimated 833.000 students have public transport cards.

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