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Dutch Railways dupe tourists into buying expensive tickets

DutchAmsterdam.nl — Dutch Railways (NS Nederlandse Spoorwegen) earn millions of Euros by duping tourists who travel from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to Central Station into buying First Class tickets.

NS claims that’s what tourists want, but according to the VVV Tourist Office — which also sells train tickets at the airport — tourists usually elect to buy Second Class tickets.

Amsterdam Airport ticket machines

Train ticket machines at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Most locals travel on Second Class tickets.

On the Schiphol airport — Amsterdam Central Station trajectory a First Class ticket sells for €6,50, and a Second Class one way ticket costs €3,80.

A difference of €2.70 might not seem much, Haarlems Dagblad reports, but at 1,8 million trips a year it amounts to €4,8 million.

The welcome screen at train ticket machines throughout Schiphol’s central plaza sports a photo of an Amsterdam canal along with the invitation to purchase a ‘Comfort Class’ ticket to Amsterdam.

If you want another type of ticket you can place a check mark in a corner of the touch screen.

In practice most tourists using the unfamiliar machines will end up buying a First Class ticket.

First Class vs Second Class Train Tickets

First Class train cars do offer a bit more space for luggage, and in many trains offer a bit more comfort than Second Class. Often, especially in newer trains, the difference is negligible.

In older trains even First Class will usually not impress travelers.

Whether you travel on an older or newer train is the luck of the draw.

Shuttle Bus or Taxi

A spokesman for the Amsterdam Tourist Board says experience shows tourists with luggage prefer to take a taxi or shuttle bus into town.

The Consumentenbond, a consumer advocacy agency, says it will insist NS adapts the welcome screens to more clearly offer a choice between First- and Second Class tickets.
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Public Transport to and from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

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This post was last updated: Sep. 11, 2011