'Cautious optimism' for OV-chipkaart in Amsterdam metro
The city's switch from strippenkaarts to the electronic system went relatively well as 600 additional workers were placed in and around the stations to answer questions and assist travellers.
Amsterdam – Travellers using the Amsterdam metro can only ride with an OV-chipkaart as the city's switch from strippenkaarts to the electronic system was made official Thursday.
Gertjan Kroon, director of GVB, the public transport company that operates the city's metro system, told de Telegraaf that the morning rush generally went well.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” he said. “So far, so good.”
GVB placed 600 additional workers Thursday in and around the stations to answer questions and assist travellers.
Thirty-three mobile desks were also set up across several stations, including Amsterdam Zuid and Bijlmer, where customers could buy the temporary OV-chipkaart or sign up for the personal card.
"It was great that there were lots of GVB people who were there to help because I had to exchange my monthly pass for a temporary paper pass," said 30-year old Amsterdam resident Michelle Ng.
"However, I still have a lot of questions about the OV-chipkaart I could have asked people at GVB, but I didn't want to hold up the long queue."
By 10.00 Thursday morning, 50,000 travellers had used the Amsterdam metro system.
Although de Telegraaf reports of long queues found at entry ports and OV-chipkaart vending points, especially in Amsterdam Central station, Kroon told the daily paper that the queues were no longer than what's been reported the past several days.
About 75 percent of the entry/exit metro ports in Amsterdam were closed leading up to Thursday's deadline.
The OV-chipkaart can be purchased or charged at 102 places in Amsterdam, including tobacco business, C1000-stores and post offices, according to the official website. Cards are also available at the GVB Tickets & Info offices in the metro stations.
Currently, the anonymous OV-chipkaart costs about EUR 4, and individual cards cost EUR 1.50.
The NS-peak discount card (voordeelhurenkaart) already contains the OV-chip, and customers can load their discount cards at OV-chipkaart charge points.
While the OV-chip is valid for five years, the peak discount privilege must be renewed annually.
Strippenkaarts can still be used on board buses and trams in Amsterdam, but paper tickets are no longer sold on trams. Disposable OV-chipkaarts, however, are available for purchase on trams.
The strippenkaart system is expected to be abolished nation-wide in 2011.
Jennifer Evans / Expatica