OV-chipkaart changeover delayed

OV-chipkaart changeover delayed

15th April 2010, Comments 1 comment

Strippenkaart buys time as OV-chipkaart irons out final issues. A special report for Expatica by Jeannette Jordan

If you still have a Nationale Strippen Kaart, don’t throw it away just yet.  It seems that the complete changeover to OV-chipkaart is not a done deal.  According to Petra Faber, spokesperson for the GVB, the assumed deadline of 15 April for the changeover is postponed.  The matter was never officially adopted, officials at the GVB told Expatica.  Now, the transport ministry is set to take up the issue again on 19 April.

Here is what may happen:  If officials decide in favour of chip-kaart only for public transport in Amsterdam, riders could have until 3 June to continue using the strippenkaart.  If the matter remains unresolved, riders should anticipate things to continue as usual until further notice from the GVB.

For now, the GVB is advising all riders to get the OV-chipkaart and make the switch now from the strippenkaart.  They say there are some clear advantages, including cost savings for some riders in certain cases.  Here is what they mean.

What it costs

Now, you can purchase the OV-chipkaart for EUR 7.50.  That is a one-time fee for the card only.  Once you purchase the card you can load any amount you wish.  If you ride the NS train, you must have a minimum of EUR 20 loaded onto the card every time you ride.  For transport in the Amsterdam region, there is no minimum balance required on your kaart and you can use it in many other systems outside of the city.

New fee structure works on kilometres not zones

Although the changeover isn’t final yet, a new fee structure is in place in Amsterdam.  Instead of paying by zones travelled, charges to your card are determined now by the distance you travel.  Somewhat like a taxi.   Each rider is charged 78 euro-cents upon check-in.  When you check out, a charge of 10.4 euro-cents is deducted for each kilometre of your trip.  If you transfer, for example, from a bus to a tram within 35 minutes of your first check-in, you will not be charged the 78 euro-cents for checking into the second part of your ride.

Price for not checking out

The most important thing to remember is to check out always.  It is important to swipe your card when you leave the bus, train, or tram.  If you fail to check out, the maximum charge of EUR 4 will automatically be deducted from your chipkaart balance.  If you forget to check out of the NS train you will be charged EUR 20 for a single ride.

Using the OV-chipkaart on NS transport

Another thing to note is for riders who use both city and NS transport.  You will need to have a one-time activation made for your card.  You can have the card activated for the NS trains at Central Station.  There is no charge for that one-time service.

There are many options for buying and loading the OV-chipkaart.  Some include tobacco shops, Albert Heijn, metro stations, Central Station, as well as self-service machines.  If you use the machines to load your cards, make sure you have coins.  If you use some credit cards to load your OV-chipkaart there is an additional fee of EUR 1.

Finally, for those who ride short distances using the OV-chipkaart system, the new pricing structure will save you money.  And, if you just need to ride occasionally, then one-hour cards are sold on the buses, metro and tram for EUR 2.60.



Jeannette Jordan is an American journalist and Erasmus Mundus Global Journalism fellow.  She is currently taking programme courses at the Graduate School of Communication at the University of Amsterdam. 


1 Comment To This Article

  • shoots posted:

    on 13th May 2010, 14:13:11 - Reply

    Hello - thanks for the article - I'd like to add some more points ->

    in my experience you cannot depend upon finding an OV or OV-NS machine that takes coins - maybe, maybe not - its up to you to discover your options by exploring the different machines within each unique, unpredictable transport hub - no surprise if the only machine around that takes coins is "defect" - the only sure non-fee bet is an NL bank PIN/CHIP card.

    When you transfer between different companies - NS to bus/tram - one bus co to another bus co - you get charged the .78 cent start-up fee no matter what.- an example of how OV is anti-consumer compared to the Stripkaart

    If you forget to check out, or, more likely, if you try to check out and the reader won't read your card and you have to get off anyway, you can go to a customer service office and get your credit back (at least in Rotterdam)....

    In places that still use the OV and Stripkaart - carry both - When boarding a bus observe the OV card reader next to the driver - if the reader says Buiten Dienst (out-of-service) (which is often the case) then present the OV card - in my experience the driver will wave you on rather than try to get another form of payment - one way to get back some of the money lost from using OV.

    short trips: by my calculation, at approximately 1 Euro (2 strips) cost for travel within one zone, the strippenkaart cost is about the same or less than OV even for short trips when you take the .78 cent start-up into account.

    finally: the killer stat: a Dutch transport official (don't remember whom) recently commented that the OV card system costs 3 x as much to operate than the previous system! I think this means that we can expect transport costs in the long run to greatly exceed their former trajectory with the strippenkaart system.