A piece of information I've recently discovered is that in Amsterdam the strippenkaart is now obsolete.

In previous posts I wrote about using strippenkaarts on the trams throughout Netherlands, both throughout Amsterdam and when we took the tram from Den Haag and Delft.

However, now the OV Chipkaart ("OV" stands for Openbaar Vervoer which simply means public transport in Dutch) is in the process of becoming the new national public transport ticket in Netherlands and will be used on trains, metros, buses and trams. Amsterdam becomes the second Dutch city to make the OV card the only valid means of payment for public transportation. Rotterdam made the change in 2009.

This "smart card" system is slowly being rolled out throughout the country and since June 2010 (right after I returned from my trip), it has been mandatory to use on public transport in Amsterdam.

The smart card works using an embedded chip and passengers need to check-in and check-out at the start and end of the respective journeys. This is done using the special free-standing card readers
installed at platforms and on buses and trams.  There are also gate barriers in place at some metro and train stations.

There are 3 types of OV chipkaarts available: 1) Personal (for Dutch residents only); 2) Anonymous; and 3) Disposable.

The Anonymous cards are reusable, either by loading up to a €30 credit or by buying a specific travel product such as a 1 day ticket. This can be done at the service desks or at the vending machines in the stations.

There are a number of different ticket options for visitors depending on how long you are staying and where you wish to go.
  • Anonymous OV-chip card: You can buy one of these cards for €7.50 which lasts for 5 years. You can use the card as a re-chargeable "e-purse" which can be credited with up to €30. The card is used to check-in and check-out of a journey and the correct fare is deducted from your card's balance based on distance travelled.
  • Single Journey: This can be bought as a "disposable" OV card and is valid for 1 hour's travel. It costs €2.60 (or 2 for €5). It is not really good value if you are just travelling 1 or 2 stops on a tram.
  • Unlimited Travel Tickets: These are valid for a set period of times and allow you to travel on trams, buses and the metro. There are a number of different periods available for purchase depending on how long you visit the city. The longer your ticket, the better value it becomes. Current prices are:
           24 hours        (1 day)       €7.00
          48 hours        (2 days)     €11.50
          72 hours        (3 days)     €15.50
          96 hours        (4 days)     €19.50
          120 hours      (5 days)     €23.00
          144 hours      (6 days)     €26.00
          168 hours      (7 days)     €29.00

These tickets come as a disposable OV chip card or alternatively can be loaded onto an anonymous chip card. The 24-hour disposable ticket can also be bought on board trams and buses.
  • Amsterdam All-in-1 Ticket: This ticket type is very useful for tourists coming by air as it includes a return ticket (2 singles) between Schiphol airport and Amsterdam as well as an unlimited travel pass for up to 4 days. This saves a little money off the train fare and you won't have to take the time to buy a ticket to the airport.

           24 hours      (1 day)           €13.20
           48 hours      (2 days)         €17.25
           72 hours      (3 days)         €20.85
           96 hours      (4 days)         €24.45

This ticket can only be purchased at the Holland Tourist Information desk at Schiphol Airport near Arrivals Hall 2. They are open between 07:00 and 22:00.

  • Unlike a strippenkaart, multiple-person travel is not possible. Every individual must have their own OV chipkaart. You are able to buy an anonymous card and give it to someone else to use.
  • A single fare with the disposable card in Amsterdam is €2.60. This is more expensive than using the e-purse on the personal and anonymous cards.
  • When using the e-purse, there will be a standard flat charge for boarding (€0.78 in Amsterdam) and the journey will be calculated on distance travelled (€0.104 per km) rather than the old zonal system. If you need to make a connection and board within 35 minutes of check-out you will not be charged the €0.78 base fare again.
  • When you check-in, a deposit (€4) is taken off the e-purse balance. When you check-out, the cost of the journey is deducted but you get the deposit back. If you fail or forget to check-out, you will lose the €4 deposit which will likely be more expensive than the journey cost! If you have 12 failed check-outs in a 2 week period, the card is disabled and it can only be restored by visiting a customer service desk.
  • If you are saying goodbye to someone at a station and not traveling you can check-in and check-out for free as long as your stay is within 20 minutes.
NOTE: Click on the following links for more information on public transportation in Amsterdam.

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