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Here is our guide to getting the most out of the controversial new Danish travel card. This includes ways to avoid using it in the first place!
Are you a part of the frustrated multitude, or are you a secret fan? The roll-out of the new Danish electronic travel rejsekort has not been a success by any measure.
Introduced in 2012, it was intended to smoothen the transportation of commuters, but complaints about the rejsekort have numbered approximately 500 complaints per day between July and September this year.
It is unpopular and complicated. The Rejsekort company took home DKK 40 million in fines from the consumers for forgotten check-outs between January and November 2014.
On the international review platform for ecommerce Trustpilot the Rejsekort system consumers give it a disastrous one out of five stars.
Obviously lapses in information and efficiency exist.
Regardless of whether these complaints are from curmudgeonly travelers that despise change or because of misinformation from the company and too many ‘out of order’ machines, this guide will make you an expert in the recently changed Danish public transportation system.
If you are between the ages of 16 and 26 or a recipient of SU (student support), the University Post recommends buying a Wildcard. This makes your journeys outside of the area of larger Copenhagen cheaper.
A Wildcard costs DKK 185 for one year and gives travelers a 50 per cent discount on low travel days, 25 per cent off on high travel days (Fridays, Sundays and holidays), and 20 per cent off on trips across the Øresund to Sweden.
This means that a trip to from Copenhagen to Aarhus would already pay off the costs of the card and give you the advantage of ordering a youth rejsekort.
However, if you aren’t planning on going much further than the airport or Helsingør with Danish public transportation, then a Wildcard is not for you, because the youth discounts are not given within the Capital Region.
If you are not Danish the Rejsekort is particularly daunting, because the standard process uses the Danish CPR number.
While the main application for Rejsekort Personal or Rejsekort Flex requires a CPR-number, a second application allows new arrivals to order one with alternative documentation, such as a passport.
While the Rejsekort Personal is free, the Rejsekort Flex has an administrative fee of 50 kroner. They can be ordered online or in store, have a minimum initial top up of 100 kroner, and require a valid address in Denmark.
Alternatively, Rejsekort Anonymous can be ordered by anyone for the cost of 80 kroner. However, a prepayment of 750 kroner is required for journeys outside of the Capital Region (TMH on this map) so we recommend buying an individual ticket for these journeys.
One of the most confusing aspects of the rejsekort has been whether to check in or out when transferring. We have not seen any numbers on how much money the Rejsekort company has taken in as a result of this confusion.
So as a general rule: Remember to check in at each transfer but do not check out until the absolute end of your trip.
Like everything in Rejsekort, however it is extremely complicated. For example there is the 30 minute rule. This means that if you are, for example, picking up a friend from the airport or running another errand that allows you to transfer in less than thirty minutes, you actually can check out.
One of our astute readers, Chiara, made us aware of the relevant passage in the Rejsekort rules. “If you check out and then check in again in the same travel zone within 30 minutes, rejsekort converts the two separate journeys into one. This means that you avoid paying the minimum two-zone fare applicable for each separate journey.”
Be careful how you play it here. Failure to check-in would entitle you to the ultimate ‘stupidity fine’, a ‘kontrolafgift’ of DKK 750. If the worst comes to the worst, play stupid and pretend you don’t understand the rules.
An anonymous source hinted to the University Post that you could make your journey across the country that would cost a fraction of what it normally would.
“You can take the train to, for instance, Aarhus and just forget to check out, so that you are only charged the ‘stupidity fine’ of 50 kroner.”
The stupidity fines (or dummebøder) exist so that travelers who forget to check out don’t get a free ride, but the fine instead, regardless of where they got on and off. Due to excessive complaining, the fine was actually halved from 50 to 25 kroner as of 20 January, which would make the above trick even better.
But be warned: the card is revoked the third time you forget to check out in a 12 month time period, so it might not be worth the risk. If you forget to check out three times within 12 months, and the company warns you twice by letter or e-mail it can “register you in their customer database.” (Presumably as a bad customer!)
If you have guests visiting or refuse in principle to buy a rejsekort, there are still a couple of other options.
Individual tickets can still be purchased on buses (cash only), in metro and train stations or on your phone using a DSB app or via a text message, but they tend to be more expensive than if purchased with a rejsekort.
Tourists can purchase a CityPass valid for 24 hours (DKK 80), 72 hours (DKK 200) or a Copenhagen Card with access to over 60 sights and unlimited public transportation for 24 hours (DKK 339), 48 hours (DKK 469), 72 hours (DKK 559) or 120 hours (DKK 779).
Alternatively, you can purchase a FlexCard for 7 days (DKK 250 kroner) or 30 days (DKK 450). The greatest benefit of this card is that it is not a personal card and can in fact be shared between multiple people (although not on the same trip, obviously).
If you are a commuter, or travel often, you can save in your overall monthly costs by purchasing a Periodekort, or Pendlerkort, a personal monthly travel pass allowing you to travel unlimited within a specified number of zones for 30 days. The standard 2 zone card is DKK 365, and a pass for all zones is DKK 1,335. These cards can also be purchased at train stations and 7-Eleven stores, as well as over a smartphone on the DSB mobile ticket app.
Despite the complaints, the confusion, and the stupidity fines, there are, apparently, rejsekort fans out there. They point out that it’s flexible, convenient, great for groups as you can check in multiple people, gives you off-peak discounts, environmentally friendly, allows you to see your journey history. Some users think it is a step in the right direction.
In an interview with University Post, University of Copenhagen graduate student Ralph Møller Trane is willing to go on the record with his view of the Rejsekort. He claims to have no affiliation with the Rejsekort company.
“There will always be people who don’t like change and therefore complain about the new system, and although it isn’t perfect yet, I definitely think that Rejsekort is the future. It gives you the benefit of not worrying about how many clips you have left on your klippekort or how many zones you need for your journey.”
So off you go then. Have a good trip!
Any tips or additional information on the Rejsekort? Feel free to write them in the comment field below.
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