Here is the FYI Guide on the Danish Rejsekort or travel card. I will try to explain how to use it, how to get one and most importantly try to give you information that will help you avoid getting ripped off. Which is probably the hardest thing to avoid.
Let me state from the start that, I was not a fan of this digital ticket system and the fact that it is being forced upon the Danish commuters. They have taken away the klippekort and forced us to use a system that was plagued by problems and controversy. It was an overwhelming “undersuccess” from the standpoint of most commuters, but they keep investing money and time trying to make it work. They may have succeeded.
History: Back in 2012, after much controversy, this electronic program was rolled out in the Copenhagen area with plans to expand it to the rest of the country over the next couple of years. It is now 2020 and the rest of the country is up and running. At a cost of 3.7 billion kroner, the system is operating yet has a really bad customer satisfaction rating. 80% of reviews rate it 1 out of 5. 1 being the worse.
Much of the problem revolves around the fact that the cards do not work properly, machines malfunction, zones are misread and travel costs are incorrectly calculated, card readers are often out of order forcing travelers to pay fines which they did not incur. In the early days, complaints were in the 1000s weekly and in 2019, they were decisively down, but still far from perfect.
Despite these problems, the rejsekort is here to stay and we will all have to learn to master the system and just keep fighting the unjust charges that DSB is leveling against commuters. Welcome to the Rejsekort HELL.
The process of getting your first rejsekort is pretty straight forward and for me to walk you through each option would be wasteful, since the online application form takes you through it step by step.
Remember you need to have aNem ID kort and your bank information on hand to complete the process. Start by going to the Rejsekort website and click on "bestil kort" and you are off. If you prefer English, jsut click on the english icon in the top right corner.
Q. The most popular card is the Personal card, but there are several options including Flex, Anonymous, Corporate, Commuter, School Pass, Ungdomskort. A new card costs 50kr, unless you get the Anonymous, which costs 80kr. Once you get the card you will also need to top it up which is usually 100kr.
If this is your first card, I highly recommend the personal cad unless you are a student, using it for school only or sharing it with lots of people.
The only one available to visitors or tourists is the “anonymt” costing 80 kr and having a 750 kr top up fee. This type of rejsekort is more for those people visiting Denmark and not living here or who do not have a CPR yet. You will need a passport or other documentation in order to buy these two options. You will have to contact DSB and have them send you a form to fill out if you do not have a CPR number.
When you get your card, it has a chip inside which the card readers at the train stations and on bus are suppose to be able to read. We hope.
First let’s discuss the machines. There are 3 types of machines that you should be familiar with when traveling. There is the Check Ind machine, Check Ud machine and the Rejsekort machine/Rejsekorautomat.
The Check Ind machine is to used to check in , the Check Ud is to be used to end your trip and check out and the Automat can be used to check ind and out, but also to add funds to your account, check your balance and a few other options.
You check in when you start your trip and whenever you make a transfer along your route. For example if you start on a bus, than take the train and another bus to your final destination. This means you check in on the first bus, check in at the train and the final bus you check in and will also check out will you reach your destination on the bus. Much more work than it was when you could just buy a ticket or klip a klippekort and relax til you reached your destination. Not so anymore.
DSB has made a video that shows you how simple this is – or how simple it is suppose to be. The idea is to hold your card over the blue dot on the card reader until you hear a ding. That means you have either checked in or checked out. See the video below.
Remember there are 2 different machines. One is to check in on (says Check Ind) and the other to check out.(Check Ud) If you scan your card on a check out machine when you really should be checking in, it will make a “doo doo” type noise instead of the familiar ding. Check the screen to see what the problem is. The check in machines for buses are at the front when you enter the bus and the check out when you leave from the middle or back doors. This is opposite in some parts of the country where you enter the bus from the back doors.
At train stations the check in machines are facing you as enter the platform and the check out machines are facing you when you exist the platform. They are usually right next to each other – back to back.
Remember you can see the cost of your trip and the balance left on your card when you check out. Just look quick, because it is only a screen for a split second.
That is basically the steps to using a rejsekort.
If you do forget to check out, there is an app called Check Udvej, which you can download from the Apple Store or Goggle Play. It is a free app, but it becareful not to use it too often. This is in emergency cases, where you forget to check out and not as a substitute to using the proper system. This can be used as as late as 5 days after your travel, so if you notice that on your bill that there is missing a check out you can correct the error. Each transaction has to be approved by Rejsekort, so not sure if it will always rectify the problem.
Before deciding to use the rejsekort, I suggest you investigate other ticket types. Especially if you are visitor, buying one is seldom a good option unless you plan to use public transportation a great deal while visiting. Seldom can you use 750 kr if staying in the city.
Wildcard: People between 16 and 26, should probably a Wildcard, which generally makes your travel costs cheaper. Use the wildcard in conjunction with the rejsekort, since it is a rebate card and not a travel card. This is more for people traveling outside the hovedstaden region or Copenhagen area. Compare your costs by using rejseplanen.
Periodkort: For those traveling the same routes daily, it is usually cheaper to get a monthly pass or periodkort/pendelkort. There are special monthly passes and discounts for seniors/pensionists and children.
Individual tickets can still be purchased in ticket machines and on buses from the chauffor. They are higher, but if you are only making one or two trips it is better than investing in a rejsekort. Again it is easy to compare costs using rejseplanen.dk. You can also download the DSB app or even use text messaging. You must have a Danish phone in order to use this app. That is at least my understanding. You can always try with a foreign phone.
Tourist Passes: There are several type of passes designed for the visitor to take advantage of the public transportation and tourist attractions. A City Pass is valid for 24/48 or 72 hours. The Copenhagen Card has the same options but includes discount and passes to lots of attractions too. Another option is what is called a Flex Card, which allows several people to share one card for travel for either a 7 day or 30 day period. Only one person can travel on the card at a time, but it can be shared with others. Not a bad deal.
Bicycle: If you really want to avoid the problems associated with the rejsekort, buy a bicycle. It is always cheaper to ride your bike and often quicker too!
The most important rule of using the electronic travel card is making sure you check in and check out. Listen for the ding. I often seeing several people trying to use the same machine at the same time and that DOES NOT WORK! One at a time and make sure you hear the ding. Check in at each transfer and check out will you are finished traveling. This is the best way to make sure you do not get any fines.
If you have a monthly pass, you can use it with your rejsekort. It can be a bit tricky if you are not familiar with your route. If you are on the bus and traveling on your pass which allows you travel in zone 1 and zone 2, but you want to go into zone 31. Show your pass to the driver when you get on. Once you reach zone 31, check in at the front of the bus and than check out when you leave the bus. It is a bit of a hassle especially if the bus is full. On the train it is a nightmare – jump off the train to get to a scanner and back on before the train leaves again- often less than 30 seconds. It can be done, but not recommended.
There are ways to cheat the system, but I will advise you not to try it. DSB is onto many of the scams and people are being caught and fined. Pay for your travel – cheating the system only pushes prices up.
There is also the possibility of using the rejsekort when traveling with someone. When you check in you can push on the plus button to add people to your travel plans. You only do this when you check in and not at every transfer point or at check out.
FYI: Be careful if you are standing next to a check out machine on a crowded bus. It is very easy for your card to be read and suddenly you have checked out by mistake. Now you need to check in again to continue your trip. It happens quite often.
You can use the rejsekortautomat to add funds to your travel card. You put your travel card into the blue holder or pocket.
On the screen you push “tank op” and than choose the amount you want to put on the card. Say you choose 200 kr, than put in your credit card or dankort into the card reader (leave you kort in the blue holder) and enter your pin code.
Once the payment is okayed, remove your credit card and wait for the receipt. As soon as you get the receipt your card has been updated. Take it from the blue pocket and you are ready to use it.
I have had my card for a years now, yet do not use it very often, but have not had any problems as of yet. Of course, I live in Jutland and the routes I travel are not overflowing with people and it is easy to get to a machine, hear the ding and know that everything is working. I rarely do a transfer, so my trips are on and off. I do check my account everytime I use the pass to make sure I have not been charged extra. So far, everything has been kosher, but I hear from many people that the charges are incorrect and they have to constantly battle with DSB/Movia, etc. to make them right. It does not always happen that DSB honors their mistakes and it is often hard to prove.
Rejsekort works best on long trips outside of the city centers. Often it can not quite figure out lots of transfers, especially if you go in and out of several zones. There are many little things that you will learn – the more you use it. My best advice is too be very vigilant, check the fees being deducted from your account daily. Learn what works and what does not work. You can also read more about the travel card at the official rejsekort website.
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Thanks for an excellent article on how to use the rejsekort, As a tourist I agree its one of the worse systems, I am Irish and have a Leapcard, it too …
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