12 February 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Dutch public transport companies have announced a trial that will see a small number of passengers use a new GPS tracking feature in a mobile app, which will mean they are no longer required to check-in and out when using public transport.

GPS tracking in mobile app to replace OV Chipkaart?

Launched by the public transport companies OVpay and Translink, the trial – which is set to start on February 14 – will see around 100 passengers across the Netherlands use an app on their mobile phones to track their travels, meaning they are no longer required to check-in or out when switching between modes of transport or different public transport operators. 

Travellers simply need to log the start of their journey via the app at their starting point, and they’ll be provided with a unique QR code that can be scanned to open the barriers at stations. They can then go about their journey as normal without the hassle of having to scan their OV Chipkaart, and just have to remember to close the app once they have reached their final destination. A GPS tracking system is used to track their journey, and the price of the trip is calculated via Translink, with the final costs being sent to the relevant public transport operator. 

Translink and OVPay assure travellers privacy is a top priority 

The trial is designed specifically for travellers who make use of multiple different public transport operators in just one journey, with a spokesperson from OVpay explaining that the system is entirely voluntary and “can make the journey a lot easier.”

While the process of launching the new system is only at the trial stage, some travellers may be concerned about how a GPS tracker could affect their privacy. Those behind the project, however, have emphasised that the location data will only be used to determine the total price of the trip: “Privacy is important with this plan, we are not looking for extra data that we can do nothing with,” programme director Bas van Weele told Trouw.

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