The smartcard system OV-chipkaart is now in use throughout the Netherlands as the official transport payment system for metro, bus, tram and trains. You pay for the distance travelled by swiping it when entering and leaving a transport station.
There are two types of cards: anonymous, which you can buy from the OV-chipkaart machines; or personal (including a photo), which you can apply for online or via regular mail. You can arrange for your personal card to ‘load' automatically from your bank account.
You can load your card at one of the OV-chipkaart machines in train and metro stations. Season or discount tickets can be integrated into your personal OV-chipkaart.
The national train company Dutch Railways (NS) offers season tickets and discounts for off-peak travel (Voordeelurenabonnement). The kortingskaart (‘discount card') takes 40% off the ticket price during off-peak hours, not only for you but for up to three other people travelling with you. Its fee is €55 a year (it’s sometimes even offered at a discounted €29 a year), and comes with an integrated OV-chipkaart.
Forgot to check out on NS service?
Don’t forget to swipe out on arrival to avoid excessive travel costs. If you forget to check out, you will be charged the maximum train fare within the Netherlands. To have your money refunded, call 0900 202 1163 (€0.10 p/m), and have your personal OV-chipkaart number ready along with your travel dates and times.
Taxis are expensive and not allowed to pick up people on the street except by reservation or at a taxi stand marked by the 'standplaats taxis' sign. In the larger cities, at bar-closing times, you can sometimes flag one down.
Official taxis have a blue number plate. For independent companies, check your local a-z listings under 'Taxibedrijf'.
Treintaxis operating from smaller train stations are shared taxis that shuttle people back and forth to the station for a fixed fee per ride (€4.30 each or 6 for the cost of 5 in the automatic ticket machines in any NS station). You pay more if you buy tickets from the driver. Treintaxi information: 0900 8734682