VMiles (PTMiles) is an initiative of RET, the PTO of Rotterdam and its region. Together with 38 partners in the Rotterdam area, they offer travellers the opportunity to earn great discounts and extras for free by using their PT smart cards. Through OVMiles the RET rewards its customers for the kilometres travelling by public transport. Once their cards have been registered and they activated OVMiles on their cards by using one of the trigger points, they are able to earn OVMiles automatically. OVMiles are earned when travelling on PT and checking in and out in the RET service area. The discount and extras that customers can earn are for example the following: snacks, movie tickets, a back stage arrangement or unique tour, donations to foundations etc. Once Miles are redeemed through the website, the ordered coupon will be linked to the PT smart card and can be used at the participating partner. In addition, participating partners can check if customers used PT to get there to give extras (independent of the number of OVMiles).
OVMiles was successfully tested in November and December 2013 among Public Transport customers. RET selected 2500 travellers for being the first OVMiles users. Nearly 90% of these users recommended OVMiles to others and 72,5% scored OVmiles with a 7 or higher (on a scale from 1 to 10). From the test, a number of improvements were indicated, for example the way for activating OVmiles on your Public Transport smart card and the ways one can earn OVMiles. There are now more than 52,000 members (OVMiles users) and 38 partners. In total, since the start of OVMiles in January 2016, almost 26 millions of miles have been earned and 45,000 coupons have been redeemed.
The initiator of OVMiles was the PTO. The geographical scope of this innovation is restricted to the Rotterdam area. As far as it is known, there is no other PTO/PTA that also implemented this innovation. The target group of this innovation are frequent Public Transport users as well as less frequent users and also non-users. By giving Public Transport travellers the opportunity to earn miles for extras and entertaining activities, they might experience it as a "refund" and value travelling with Public Transport higher. Such a loyalty program is expected to motivate frequent and less frequent travellers to make more trips (leisure and commuting) with Public Transport. The innovation corresponds with the trend of individual empowerment, which attaches the importance of customer awareness. It is important for PTOs and PTAs to offer more than just the basic transport. The empowered individuals are expecting PTOs to behave more customer oriented. Moreover, this innovation also corresponds with the trend of sustainable lifestyles. Despite the fact that all trams and metros run on electricity, there are still buses with emissions. To compensate for this and to make their own contribution to cleaner air in the Rotterdam region, OVMiles gives users the opportunity to donate miles among others to plant trees for the "RET forest". As a conclusion, it can be stated that this innovation is likely to be successful in attracting more Public Transport customers elsewhere too. However, it is important to have reached a level of maturity in behaving more customer oriented, in order to fulfil this innovation properly.