Anwar’s column-NL

Over check

I walked across the station in Arnhem and saw five different types of trains. All with their own check-in posts and gates in the colors of the train. If you take two different trains during a trip, you have to check over halfway. You keep your ticket in front of the post of one carrier to check out and then in front of the post next to check in again. If you have checked in with the wrong carrier, you will be fined. I asked a classmate why it was so complicated, if all the money goes to the government. It took a while before he understood. In the Netherlands the trains are not from the government, he said. That used to be the case. Meanwhile, they are all separate companies that compete with each other. The telecom companies, energy suppliers and mail deliverers are also not of the government here. For all large companies in Syria, there is a link with the government. It wants to participate in decision making and benefits. Calling with your cell phone is expensive. That is because there are only two telecom companies and they are both from relatives of President Bashar al-Assad. In Syria no one other than these family members may have a telecom company. That way they can keep the prices high. It is choosing between high costs or non-mobile calls. The gas and oil are also from the government. The citizens have nothing to do with it. There is no supply of fuels to the houses, like here in the Netherlands. You always have to go to the store to get 10 or 15 liters of oil for the oil stove. We used 2 to 3 liters of oil per day in our small apartment. Only 200 liters of oil are available for each household this winter. You can not switch, there are no other companies that do it well. The Netherlands proves to me that not everything needs to be done by the government to have it well organized. Here everyone has hot water and heating in the house. If the electricity, the call credit or the water becomes cheaper elsewhere, you switch companies. When I was in the train afterwards, I thought about it again. Companies are doing their best to continue competing with each other. They continue to think and make inventions to always remain the cheapest, fastest or environmentally friendly. So it remains fair, the price goes down and the technology goes up. I want to check that a bit more often.

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