Sunday 28 February 2010


[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]

A week ago I have finally received by mail the Voordeelurenabonnement (The off-peak discount pass).

The story of my Voordeelurenabonnement

Since I filled in the form in mid November, you can imagine something went wrong.

Although NS (this is the Dutch Railway Company) was supposed to send it to me by mail in three weeks, they did not. I did not worry because I thought NS would synchronize perfectly (they really seem able to do this, I am not joking) and send me the final pass a few days before the temporary one expires. Since the temporary one was expiring at mid February, I went to the Zuid station NS office at the beginning of February to ask whether something happened - I did it for my own mental comfort rather than thinking there was a problem...

The clerk was surprised to hear I have not received the pass by mail, so he handled the problem rapidly:
  1. Phoned the NS headquarters which confirmed to have lost the form (wow! I could not believe that)
  2. Gave me a 1 month extension to the temporary pass
  3. Gave me another form to fill in and bring along with a passport photo - he wrote on the form my client number, since I have been inserted as a client in the system, but apparently something went wrong afterwards.
    Joke: maybe the system does not allow Iacob, but only Jacob?

One day later, when I returned the form I was very inspired to emphasize that my name is with I not J (they always write Jacob here!) and he wrote that on top of the form.

Due to that phone call, the NS headquarters also sent me one week later another form to fill in, since they acknowledged their mistake. However, I did not fill that since I have already filled the form one week before.
However, guess what? Besides my client number, the form also had my name printed on it: yes, it was written Jacob...

The pass I've received by mail recently has my name perfectly written on it, therefore I was very inspired to emphasize to the clerk how my name was spelled correctly.

Further details on the Voordeelurenabonnement

The Voordeelurenabonnement is an OV-chipkaart (in English for non-Dutch speakers), just like my anonymous GVB card.

Why buy a Voordeelurenabonnement?
The discount suits very nice the needs of a Dutch native or a person living a long time in Netherlands, by offering nice discounts (see the 40% discount during off-peak periods tab) when traveling by train. However, I lack the time and mood for traveling - ok, this is my problem and I should get it solved.

One has to write on the form his/her bank account number, so NS automatically withdraws money (after one year) from one's account to renew the pass. That means I shall have to send them an e-mail probably in October to announce them I've closed my bank operations in the Netherlands and returned home, since I will be back in Romania starting mid July - thank you Google Calendar for storing that reminder for me!

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