Beep Beep! NS to introduce smart bike tag for parking at train stations

Dutch innovation strikes again my friends! The NS has started rolling out a new check-in and out system in bicycle sheds at Dutch train stations. With the new system, travellers will be able to check in their bikes using either a smart tag or their OV chip card.

Amsterdam Amstel station will be the first to enjoy this new luxury. As of Monday, travellers were welcome to try out the new technology. The station won’t be the only one for long, as bike sheds at Amsterdam Zuid (Strawinskylaan parking facility) and Tilburg (South parking facility) are also expected to soon make use of this new system.

Once Amsterdam and Tilburg have started the trend, seven more stations will enjoy this technology next year, the NS has announced. But they haven’t revealed which stations these will be! (Crosses fingers and hopes Leiden is on the list.) 🤞

READ MORE | 7 ways you can level-up your Dutch life with a personal OV chip card

“On average, almost 50% of our travellers come to the station by bicycle. We would like to make parking bicycles as easy as possible, to help travellers get back on the road quickly,” Anneke de Vries, director of NS Stations says in the announcement.  

How does it work?

Ok so, how does this whole new system work? It’s simple. There are two ways that you can check in your bike: by using a smart bike tag, or by using your OV chip card.

How do you check in your bike using a smart tag?

How these new smart tags work is pretty cool. You simply attach the tag to the side of your bike and when you walk through the check-in barrier, it will be recognised using smart technology! Simply wait for the green light to show and you’re good to go.

The smart tag is linked to your chip card, meaning it acts as a hands-free chip card for your bike — handig!

It’s also nice to know that you will be able to receive one of these tags for free if you have a subscription or stables account with the NS.

How do you check in your bike using an OV chip card?

If you don’t have a smart tag, there’s also the option to use your OV chip card. If you’re asking this question, you’ve likely used an OV chip card before, so this shouldn’t be too much of a puzzle for you.

When you want to check your bike into the parking shed, you simply tap your OV chip card against a screen provided at the shed’s check-in and out zone. When it’s time for you to check out — you guessed it — you tap that sucker again.

However, if you’re a forgetful bike parent and your metal child has been left in the shed for more than 24 hours, a red light will show when you try to scan out, meaning parking is no longer free. 😬

You can pay the parking fee by either scanning your debit/credit card or by choosing to have the charge debited to your NS account.

A succesful trial

This new system of checking in and out bikes was previously trialled by travellers at Breda and Harderwijk train station — and it was a flying success!

“The earlier trial showed that travellers particularly appreciate the convenience of the bicycle tag and that they find the new access system logical. Our colleagues also indicated that the new system would allow them to focus more on helping travellers and answering questions,” De Vries says.

What are your thoughts on this new system? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: NS/Press Release

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.

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