Transport Ministry hid scathing Rejsekort report
On July 1, the new electronic Rejsekort public transport ticketing system kicked off to much aplomb, touted by DSB as a replacement to the existing travel card and ticketing scheme by 2014. But first the company behind the Rejsekort was accused of misleading commuters over the price and now reports have surfaced that the Transport Ministry has deliberately tried to hide a 2010 report that was critical of the system that dealt with payment registration.
Additionally, the transport minister at the time, Hans Christian Schmidt (Venstre), used the report from American IT consultancy group Gartner as grounds to keep the much-maligned and oft-delayed ticketing system, science weekly Ingeniøren reported.
The ministry only publicised a summary of the report, which did not include the critical details of the financial aspects of the Rejsekort project, which Gartner identified as the main detractor for the system.
“A lacking financial system makes it impossible to budget and create meaningful reports and the consultants doubt that it lives up to accounting demands. Therefore, Rejsekort A/S [the company responsible for operating the system] should immediately incorporate a new financial operating system to remedy the insufficient data,” the consultancy firm wrote according to Ingeniøren.
The criticism of the missing report has only surfaced because Ingeniøren complained to the parliamentary ombudsman after the ministry denied them access to documents.
Erik Frøkjær, a computer scientist and lecturer from the University of Copenhagen, who was also denied access to the documents, pointed out that similar situations had been seen in the past at the Transport Ministry.
“It’s that lack of transparency that we experienced with the IC4 trains, when they denied that there was a background report about the problem,” Frøkjær told public broadcaster DR. "We didn’t get to see that report until the politicians got involved, and I haven’t experienced such ambiguity in any of the other ministries. The Rejsekort was supposed to be a modernisation, but will end up being hundreds of millions of kroner more expensive than planned.”
Professor Kim Normann Andersen of Aalborg University, who researches IT and public administration, has also read the report and agreed with Frøkjær.
“It looks like a pattern that we’ve seen before from larger IT projects. They develop the projects over a considerable lenght of time and then some essential information concerning the expenses is revealed over time. We’ve seen it from other regional and state projects and it’s surprising that they don’t learn their lesson,” Andersen told DR.
The Transport Ministry came under fire for its handling of development of the IC4 trains scandal. After being delivered years behind schedule and well over budget, the trains were found to have a number of problems that prevented them from being operational.