You can take a train and/or bus to all of the places in yesterday’s post: 8 Places to Play for a Day in the Netherlands. But don’t stop there—visit Delft, Rotterdam, Gouda, and many other unique towns and cities in the Netherlands by traveling on the bus, train, tram, or metro.
For today’s Tech Tidbits Tuesday, I give you 10 tips for using the “public transport smartcard”—the OV-chipkaart!
2. Carrying Case?
1. Blue or Yellow?
Blue is an anonymous card, which means the card can be used by anyone.
Yellow is a personal card, and has the cardholder’s name on the card. It can only be used by the cardholder.
We have blue cards, since my husband rarely uses public transport (he prefers his bike or car) and we have frequent visitors. When my children and their friends visited, they used all 5 of the blue cards we have!
3. Register or Not?
4. Loading Money?
Another convenient feature of the personal, or yellow card, is that you can authorize an automatic top-up, which means you do not have to constantly be checking your balance, and worrying about loading more money on the card!
5. Check In/Check Out
Make sure you have a minimum of 20 euros pre-loaded on your card, before you check in for a train. I first learned about this when I tried to check in at the station in Woerden, and the gate didn’t open. My friend asked me how much money I had on my card, to which I responded, about 11 euros. Since there was not a booth with a person in attendance where you could add money, and I did not have a PIN card, she loaded money on it for me, and I paid her cash! Don’t get stuck in this situation, especially if you are traveling alone!!
6. Sprinter or Intercity?
Intercity trains travel in between major stations, and therefore are faster.
7. "1" or "2"?
There are signs everywhere to help you! Signs in the stations, signs at the bus stops, signs in the buses, signs in the trains.
Some signs indicate what can and can NOT be done. For example, there is usually a car on the train which is a silent car, so no talking! (Sign on the left). On other cars, there could be a reminder that you CAN talk (sign below)!
Signs on buses, trains and the metro indicate the next stop. A time underlined in red, or in the case of the bus, a + sign followed by a number, indicate a delay or later time than scheduled.
10. Google Maps?
Back in February, I told you about Google Maps—My New Best Friend. It's no longer a new friend, but it is still a best friend!
On your phone, just type in your destination, and Google Maps will tell you times, platforms, and delays for trains, buses, and the metro. Be sure to check the signs at the station for platforms though. Just this Sunday, a delayed train caused our train to be re-routed to another platform!
So there you have it, my 10 tips for using the OV-chipkaart. For more information check out:
The official site of Nederlandse Spoorwegen
OPV-chipkaart: Dutch Public Transport Smart Card
Public transport in the Netherlands: Transport cards, trains, metro and bus
Let me know in a comment below!