Public transport market instead of public transport planning? experiences with end-user financing in the Netherlands

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning


Current Dutch transport policy aims at achieving a more businesslike relationship between public authorities and transport providers. Furthermore, the policy aims at stimulating innovation in public transport services, and introducing incentives to meet transport demand more efficiently. The Dutch central government is examining end-user financing as a means to achieve these goals. In such a setting, inhabitants and employees of a particular area receive an individual budget to be spent on public transport services instead of the traditional way of subsidizing public transport supply. In co-operation with local authorities, an experiment with end-user financing was initiated in the Netherlands in 1999. The experiment is being performed at greenfield locations. Greenfield locations are areas which are typically challenging to cater for public transport supply due to low population density. All individuals were entitled to a €900 budget that is distributed by means of a specific smartcard called “Pioneer Card”. Meanwhile, the private sector was invited to propose transport services on which the earmarked budget may be spent. The AVV Transport Research Centre is carrying out an ambitious monitoring and evaluation research programme concerning the experiment. This paper reports on the achieved results of the experiment . Inparticular, we present the experiences of people using the Pioneer Card, and the developments in public transport provision. The current results of the experiment are not too impressive. Nevertheless, the outcomes give a better insight into the effects which may be expected from end-user financing in general, and the problems one faces with the application of end-user financing on a larger scale. Finally,this study may serve as a starting-point for a discussion on whether end-user financing is a serious alternative to traditional public transport planning.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.