If you have ever used public transport in the Netherlands, you've probably heard of it: the 'OV Chipkaart'. This is a special card you can use for all kinds of transportation, so no more individual paper tickets for every bus, tram or train ride! If you plan on using public transportation a lot it is strongly advised you get one, since there are all kinds of sweet deals available which will allow you to save quite a bit of money and it is more convenient than having to pay cash. This page gives you more info on the OV Chipcard and a step-by-step guide to applying.
How does it work?
The way the card works is quite easy: you put money on it and when you want to travel you ‘check in’. On buses and trams you do this when you get on, to take the train there you either have to check in to get into the station (Delft central station is an example) or there are terminals on the platform.
When you leave the bus/train/tram, be sure to check out at a similar terminal or your card will be charged €10! It is possible to get this money back but it involves a lot of paperwork.
What are the benefits?
First off, you will only have one card in your wallet that you can use for all public transport. You won't have to carry around change for the bus anymore, and you can show up at the train station seconds before your train departs since you won't have to buy paper tickets anymore. In addition, if you really want to explore the country, there is a sweet discount deal available, called the 'Dal Voordeel' package.
The package is €50 for a year, and gives you the following benefits:
- A 40% discount during off-peak hours on weekdays (off-peak hours are 9:00-16:00 and 18:30-6:30)
- A 40% discount from Friday 18:30 until Monday 4:00 on the weekends
- You can take three friends with you that will also get the 40% discount!
- A free OV chipcard if you apply online!
On a return ticket to Amsterdam, you already save €10, so even if you only go around the country 4-5 times this package will be worth the investment! For all discount packages, check this website. For more details on the 'Dal Voordeel' package, browse here.
To let your friends travel with you on your 40% discount card, they must also have an OVchipcard. To let them travel with you, go to one of the ticket machines, tap the OV Chipcard of your friend, click 'travel together', select 2nd class and whether you want it to be valid today or some other day, and you will be all set! When checking in the terminal should say that your friend is travelling with 40% off. In case you have any trouble don't hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com!
How to apply?
If you think all of this is great and you want to know how to apply, continue reading!
There are two types of OV-Chipcards, an anonymous one and a personal one. The difference is that you can only use discount packages with a personal card since only one person can use the discount package and a personal chipcard has your picture on it so they can see if it is you who is using the card. An anonymous card costs €7.50, while a personal one costs €10.
Applying for both OV-Chipcards can be done in three ways:
- Online: you need a digital passport photo for this and iDeal, an online banking system for Dutch bank accounts. For more info on iDeal and Dutch bank accounts, check out the bank account section on this website. The most important bit of info is that you cannot use iDeal with foreign bank accounts, so you can't apply online if you have a foreign bank account. If you do have iDeal, you can apply on this website, which is in English (yay!).
- By phone: you can call the train company to apply for a card. The first menu allows you to select the language, if you wait you can select English and all will be fine :). The phone number is : +316 (0) 30 751 51 55.
- At the info desk at Delft Central station. If you ask for an application form the officer behind the desk can help you translate the form, so you know what info to fill out!
If you want to apply for the 'Dal Voordeel' package, you can either use the 'online' or 'call' options from above. One benefit of applying online for the package is that you get a personal OV Chipcard for free! Note however that the package application form is in Dutch, so you will need someone to translate for you. If you need help, don't hesitate to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
This was everything you need to know about the OV-Chipcard, should you however require any more info you can either check out the general OV-Chipcard website or send an email to email@example.com. In any case, good luck and happy travels!