This article was kindly written by Eveline Marasoiu
who is living in The Netherlands.
Public transport in the Netherlands is the most convenient means of transportation. Trains (operated by NS: Nederlandse Spoorwegen Railways), buses and trams run throughout the country. Almost any place or town in the Netherlands can be reached by a combination of tram, bus or train.
There is a public transport information service available, called “OV Resinformatie’, which can answer all your questions about any train, bus, tram or metro in the country. The number throughout the Netherlands is 0900-9292 (0.70 EUR/min). This information line operates from Monday to Friday 6 a.m. – midnight, on weekends and holidays from 7 a.m. – midnight. You will first hear recoded messages in Dutch, but the person on line speaks English, French or German. For information on international trains and fares, call 0900-9296 (0.35 EUR/min). Useful websites are http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/
OV chip card
The OV-chipkaart is a way of payment for public transport introduced in 2009. With 1 card you will have access to all public transportation means: train, bus, tram and metro. The OV-chipkaart is about the same size as a bank card. It contains a chip that can be charged with a balance in Euro that allows you to travel everywhere in the Netherlands, or with a single fare, return ticket. When you pay for your journey with the OV-chipkaart e-purse, a boarding rate is temporarily deducted from your OV-chipkaart when you check in. When you check out, the boarding rate, minus the travel costs, is refunded. If you do not check out, you pay the full boarding rate.
OV chip card works as follows:
You can load travel credit or products onto the OV-chipkaart; without there, you cannot travel using OV-chipkaart.
Travel products are, for example, single but also season tickets. You can load there onto your card at the station vending machine,or at your public transport company’s ticket office.
You can load travel credit onto your card using you bank card and PIN code at a vending machine or ticket office. If you have a personal OV-chipkaart, you can also select the auto-reload option, to ensure you always have enough OV-chipkaart credit with which to travel. Orders from the webshop have to be loaded on the OV-chipkaart at a pick-up device.
Checking-in and checking-out:
At the start of your journey, you check in at the entrance (or at the train platform) by holding your OV-chipkaart up to the screen. The sound and light signal indicates your card has been read. If you don’t have a specific product on your card and, therefore, pay for your journey using the OV-chipkaart e-purse, a boarding rate will be deducted when you check in. The credit on your OV-chipkaart should be at least the boarding rate or you will not be continue your journey.
At the end of your journey, you check out by holding your card up to the screen. The sound and the light signal once again indicates that your card has been read. If you are travelling using the OV-chipkaart e-purse, the actual travel costs, based on the distance travelled, minus the boarding rate is deducted from or added to the e-purse.
Checking in and our is required when you transfer from any one form of transport to another, except when you transfer from one train to another.
Anonymus and personal OV-chipkaart: 4EUR (Bus, underground and tram); 20EUR (Train)
Personal OV-chipkaart with Voordeelurenabonnement: 4EUR (Bus, underground and tram); 10EUR (Train)
The fee to make on OV chip card is 7.50 euro. However, if you purchase a Voordeelurenabonnement (off peak hour discount card), you will be given the OV chip card free of charge. For more detail on using the OV-chipkaart, go to http://ov-chipkaart.nl/
Weekly, monthly and annual tickets
If you are a frequent traveller in one city in Holland, you are better off buying a subscription that is valid for a week, for a month or for a whole year. The price of the annual ticket is ten times as much as a monthly ticket. For these tickets you have to have a stamkaart (special ID-card), which is made the first time you buy one. It requires a recent passport photo and you have bring your passport. These “stam” cards are available at the main stations.
If you have to travel by train as well as local buses and trams, you can buy a monthly ticket for the local transport combined with the monthly ticket for the train (see Discount cards), which is cheaper than the train and local tickets separately.
Buses and trams
All the cities in the Netherlands have a good public transport system. Usually buses run in the cities, but in bigger places (e.g., The Hague), trams and the “RandstadRail” (quick tram) also operate. There are metro systems in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. All public transport modules have a timetable they run by. Note that most of the traffic services stop at midnight. During the night only a limited numbers of lines – often with other routes than they run normally – are operative. The trains in The Hague to and from Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht go once every hour after 1 a.m.
When you travel by train, you can choose from three different sorts of trains:
- The “stoptrein”, that stops at all stations on the route;
- The “sneltrein”, that only stops at main stations;
- The “intercity-trein”, that only reaches major cities.
On yellow timetables found throughout the stations, the type of train mentioned above is indicated next to the station you need. The ‘S’ indicates that the sneltrein stops there and ‘IC’ shows that the intercity train stops there.
The price of a train ticket depends on the kilometres that you travel. The names of the cities or part of a town, and the number of zones you travel, can be seen on a small blue board on the platforms. Regular train tickets can be obtained at every station from ticket machines or from the domestic ticket counter. Keep in mind that your ticket can be checked on the platform as well as in the trains either before departure or after your arrival and that a ticket bought at the ticket counter is 0.50 EUR more expensive than a ticket bought from the ticket machine.
Taking your bike on the train
It is possible to take you bicycle along with you on the train, but you need a separate ticket for your bike. This ticket costs 6 euros, no matter where you go in Holland. During weekdays you are only allowed to take your bike on the train after rush hour. Rush hour is from 6.30 a.m. till 9.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. till 6.00 p.m. During weekends, holiday and July and August you can take your bike with you whenever you like. If you have a small bike that can be easily compacted (vouwfiets), you can take it along as a piece of luggage without paying extra for the bike ticket.
Train tickets and special offers
- One-way ticket & return tickets
When you are travelling by train you can buy an “enkele reis” (one-way ticket) or a “dagretour” (day return ticket) or a “weekendretour” (weekend return ticket). It is more economic to buy a return ticket because these are cheaper than two singles. You can purchade first or second class tickets.
If you travel by train using an OV chip card, there is no difference between one-way price and the return price.
If you plan one-day trip, without a distance limit, you can buy a “dagkaart” (one-day ticket) either for first or second class. The special form of this day-card is the OV-dagkaart (public transport day ticket) that allows you to use all forms of public transportation in the whole country on the particular day you travel. Both tickets can be used in the combination with a discount card.
In case you travel by train frequently, there are different ways of saving money. If you travel regularly between two cities, more than 16 times a month, it is more economical to buy a so-called “maandtrajectkaart” (monthly ticket).
If you plan to see more of the Netherlands while you are here, it is advisable to buy a voordeelurenkaart (discount card) which gets you a 40% discount on train tickets. This card requires a recent passport photo and a payment of 55 EUR and is valid for one year. The only limitation you have with this card is that you must travel after 9.00 a.m. (after the peak-hours) on weekdays in order to be allowed to use the discount (no limitations on the weekend).
In case you need to travel before 9 a.m., you have to pay the full-price ticket for the distance you are travelling before 9 a.m. and the reduced price for the rest of your journey. In the months of July and August, the voordelurenkaart is also valid before 9 a.m. An important detail: if you have a 40% discount card, up to three people can travel with you on discount! Keep in mind that if you are thavelling with a Dutch student who has an “OV-jaarkaart”, you can travel with 40% discount also.
In the months of July and August – as a tourist – you can buy a “Zomertoerkaart” that allows you to travel two days unlimited within seven days in the Netherlands. For 2 persons it costs 65EUR and for three people it will cost 85Euro
In the Netherlands it is not customary to hail taxis in the streets. You will find taxi ranks at the train stations and throughout the cities. Alternatively, you can order a taxy by telephone.
Fares are calculated on an average basic rate of 7.50 EUR plus a fixed rate for each kilometre travelled. If you want to travel by taxi and you want to sing at the same time and have fun, you can call the Karaoke taxi T 0900-829 48 66. This taxi is available from Tuesdays till Sundays from 7.30 p.m. till 8.00 a.m. Check www.karaoketaxi.nl
for more information.
The Hague has a comprehensive public transport system. There are two mainline railway stations, the Centraal Station (CS) and Hollands Spoor (HS), which serve the city. The HTM Bus Company runs the bus and tram network. Their offices at the stations can supply you with all the information you need.
The Hague boasts an excellent public transport system. Over 30 buses and tramlines run in The Hague, Scheveningen and Kijkduin, as well as to the adjoining municipalities of Voorburg, Rijswijk, Ledschendam, Delft and Wateringen. In the Hague, the last tram/bus from Den Haag central goes around 00.30. On Thursday-, Friday- and Saturday-nights, you can take a night bus.The night busses are operational from 1 AM until 5 AM. There are 6 routes, N1 through N6:
- N1: City center to Scheveningen and back
- N2: City center to Leischendam/Leidschenveen and back
- N3: City center to Ockenburgh/Loosduinen and back
- N4: City center to Wateringen/Rijswijk and back
- N5: City center to Ypenburg/Leidschendam and back
- N6: City center to Zoetermeer and back (operational only Friday- and Saturday-nights)
Further information regarding timetable, routes and tickets are available on HTM website.
Taxi services in The Hague:
- HTMC 070 – 390 77 22
- ATC 070 – 887 94 79
- HCT 070 – 383 08 30
- De Hofstad 070 – 346 26 26