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Bus, Tram, Metro

Amsterdam has an extensive public transport system that includes busses, trams (trolleys), metro (underground), and ferries.

NOTE: See our new entry on Amsterdam Public Transport Tickets for updated information

Complete details on how to use the system are found at this official web site, which includes maps, a detailed timetable, information about tickets and fares, and a city guide featuring links to museums and attractions, theaters, monuments, markets and other sights, along with information on which busses and trams will get you there.

As in the rest of the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s public transport system operates on the ‘Zone’ System. “All of the Netherlands is divided into zones. These form the basis for the national fares structure: the more zones you travel through, the more you pay. For more details, see ‘Strippenkaart’ and zone systeem.”

You need a valid ticket in order to travel. Tickets can be obtained from the driver or conductor. However, it is far less expensive to purchase a ‘strippenkaart’ (good for multiple trips) in advance. They can be purchased at supermarkets, post offices, and tobacconists, or at the ticket office in front of Central Station offsite

Your strip ticket must be validated at the beginning of your journey. This is done by stamping one of the numbered strips. You either do this yourself, in one of the yellow machines on those trams that do dot have a conductor, and at metro stations. You can also ask the driver (or conductor) in a tram or bus to do it.

Which strip is stamped depends upon the number of zones you will be travelling through. Stamping a strip “cancels” it plus the blank strips behind it. You must always cancel ONE STRIP MORE than the number of zones you are travelling. For example, for a journey in one zone cancel two strips, for a journey in two zones cancel three strips, and so on.

To find out how many zones you will be crossing, consult the route map and zone table posted in all tram and bus shelters, the GVB timetable or the zone diagram on the ticket machines in light-rail trains (route 51) and trams on route 5. Naturally, you can also ask our drivers, conductors or the staff at sales points for zone details.

Reduced Fare Tickets

Babies travel free of charge, while 4-11 year olds and people aged 65 or older can use reduced fare tickets. These tickets can only be purchased in advance.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 1, 2011