No longer for sale. Photo: Colourbox
Over 30 years of Copenhagen history came to an end on Sunday when the sales of ten-ticket travel punch cards were discontinued.
The paper commuting cards, known as klippekort, were supposed to have been put out to pasture in July 2013. But constant problems with their preferred replacement, the electronic commuting system known as Rejsekort, led to several reprieves for the analogue system.
On Sunday however, sales of the klippekort were stopped for good. Commuters still holding a klippekort can continue to travel with them until June 30th, after which point they can be refunded or, for the sentimental, kept as a relic of the past.
The paper klippekort has been around since 1979 and besides a propensity for getting wrinkled in pockets or accidentally thrown in the wash, has worked effectively.
The same cannot be said for the Rejsekort.
Although nearly a million people nationwide have switched over to the Rejsekort, which is designed to have commuters check in and out of their journeys by holding a card against a glowing blue orb at traffic stops, the programme has not worked as promised.
Commuters have complained of an overly complicated pricing structure, inconvenient check-in and -out options and pricey fines when forgetting to do so.
The idea behind the Rejsekort goes all the way back to 1999. It faced numerous delays before being rolled out in 2012. Ingeniøren reported shortly after the roll-out that the project’s costs had ballooned to five billion kroner ($870 million).
Complaints over the costly fees for forgetting to check out led the company behind it to cut the ‘stupidity fines’ (dummebøder) from 50 kroner to 25, but other problems persist. TV2 reported in December that nearly 500 complaints about the system rolled in every day between July and September. The problems led Denmark's transport minister, Magnus Heunicke, to pull Rejsekort's director into a parliamentary hearing in December.
"There are some concrete practical challenges that cause troubles and problems with the Rejsekort. The goal now is to clean up the mess," Heunicke told TV2 News.
For those mourning the loss of the klippekort and hesitant to embrace the Rejsekort, there are other options. Commuters can purchase monthly passes, known as a periodekort or månedskort, that are available in both digital and paper versions. DSB also offers a ‘Mobilbilletter’ smartphone app, which is essentially a 21st century digital version of the klippekort, albeit without the pretty colours. The app is available for both Android and iOS.