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Public transport in Amsterdam

How does that system work?


"strippenkaart"
The GVB (Municipal Transport Company) provides three main forms of public transport; the tram, the bus and the metro.
There is one ticket system for all three, but since it can seem rather complicated at first, here follows a little explanation.

 
 

TICKETS, PLEASE...

First -of course- you have to buy a strippencard. They are for sale at tobacconists as well as GVB outlets, and will cost you 5,90 for a 15-strip card or € 17,40 for a 45-strip card (handy for families) Besides these strippencards, there are daytickets as well. One day will cost you € 5,20, two days 8,30, three days is € 10,70 and each additional day will set you back € 1,40, with a maximum of 9 days.
Daytickets are only worth considering if you are going to use the tram or bus a whole lot, otherwise they're just a waste of money.
It is possible to purchase 2,3 and 8-strippencards on board the bus or tram as well, but this is not very economical.

NOW WHAT?

Now you're in possession of an empty strippencard, you'll want to use it of course. Given the average strippencard, you'll probably be looking at 15 strips, like in the example on the right. Now here comes the trick;
The GVB has divided our city into zones. To determine how many strips you will need for your journey, you have a look at the map you'll find posted on the tram or busstop. If your journey takes you somewhere within the same zone, you'll need 2 strips. If you travel to an adjourning zone (ie. you're effectively travelling 2 zones) you'll need 3 strips. Three zones will cost you 4 strips, four zones 5, etc... You always stamp the number of zones plus one extra strip.
A last remark; if you're the person who will want to go to the museums and the city centre, you'll most likely do all your travelling in one zone: 5700 (centrum).

 
 

WHERE DO I STAMP?

A tram going past the hotel, yesterday
In buses, the driver will stamp your ticket for you. You just get in the front of the bus and announce where you're heading. On request, most drivers will give you a signal in case you're not too sure of what your destination looks like.
In trams you generally get on at the back and have your ticket stamped by the conductor. However, as not all trams have been fitted with a conductor's booth, you might have to stamp your ticket yourself in one of the yellow stamping machines. Fold the strippencard on the number of zones you are going to travel, and push your card into the slot with the strip of your choice on top and forward. Keep pushing until you hear a bell go off and voila, let the journey begin.
If you travel by metro you have to stamp your ticket before you get onto the platform. There are stamping machines on various places in the stations as well as on top of the escalators, and the procedure is the same as described above. This is the only possibility to stamp your ticket as there are conductors nor stamping machines on board the trains.

 
 

What does the stamp say?

As you can see in the example above, it tells you in which zone you've stamped on what day and at what time. The time is important, as there is a validation. Upto 4 strips you can travel for one hour. Upto 7 strips you have an hour and a half, upto 10 strips two hours, etc... This means effectively that you can go and come back on one ticket, as long as you don't exceed the timeframe. Just show the ticket when re-entering a bus or tram, and the conductor will recognise it as still valid, partly due to the training they've received. Sometimes, when the conductor is in a good mood, he or she will have the time on the stamp put a little forward so that you can travel for an hour and a half or even two hours.
Finally, if you come across the ticket inspectors and your ticket has expired, it will probably tell you you've lost Euro 47,50

 And more about the public transport system will follow in due time...
If you wish to see a public transport map you can follow this link but be warned; it's a full 155 kb.
You can also go to the  GVB site if you wish to find out everything about the municipal transport company.

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