How does the Dutch public transportation system work?

The Netherlands has a very good public transportation network, which makes it easy to get around. Due to its central position within the country, Utrecht is an important transportation hub (rail and road) in the Netherlands. From Utrecht Central station there are:

- Regular Intercity trains to all major Dutch cities, and a direct connection to Schiphol Airport

- International trains (ICE) to Germany, Belgium, France and other European countries

- Regular local trains to areas all around The Netherlands 

The OV-chipkaart is the most common means of payment for the public transport system. The smart card is the size of a bank card and contains an invisible chip. The OV-chipcard can be loaded with credit in euros with which you can travel anywhere within The Netherlands, or with a travel product such as a single or season ticket. There are personal and anonymous cards. More information about the OV-chipcard can be found here or read further below. 

More information: 
With an OV-Chip Card, you can travel by public transport using one card. You use the card by checking in when you enter the bus and check out when you have reached your destination by swiping your card past the white panel at the entrance of the bus. You should also check-in and check-out when you travel by train using the check-in machines. Failing to do so, might result in a fine. The card works like an e-purse: depending on the length of your trip, an amount will be deducted from the balance on your OV Chip Card.

Keep in mind the following while using the OV Chip Card:

  • You should always check in and check out. If you forget to check out, a standard amount of €20,- will be deducted from your balance.
  • The OV Chip Card is required if you would like to travel by metro and tram (only at buses, you can still purchase a ‘normal’ ticket at the bus driver).
  • You also have to check in and out when you transfer from one modality to another.

For €7.50, you can purchase the OV Chip Card at the information kiosk at the Utrecht Central Station bus depot or at train stations. After purchasing the card, you will have to top-up your balance using the machines on the train station, or regular NS ticket machines. You can top-up the credit on your card at train stations, in most buses and supermarkets and at selected service desks (e.g. the GVU Service kiosk at the Utrecht Central Station bus depot).

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