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Easy public transport with a chipcard in Rotterdam
If you travel by public transport in Rotterdam, you have to purchase a travelcard, OV chipkaart in Dutch. It's a smartcard on which various types of tickets can be preloaded. The chipcard is valid for metro, trams, buses, lightrail and also on the train and waterbus. Tourists can buy disposable travelcards but you might be better off with the Rotterdam Welcome Card, which includes public transport as well as discounts for attractions and museums in Rotterdam.
Where to buy the travel chipcard
The OV chipkaart is sold at the vending machines at all train stations in Rotterdam, most metro stations and is also available in many supermarkets, tobacco shops and most Bruna bookstores. Travel cards can be revalidated at these locations as well. Please note that tickets cannot be purchased on board the train or metro at all!
Which type of public transport ticket?
You have to choose from a personal, an anonymous or a range of disposable chipcards for public transport in Rotterdam. Each type of chipcard has its own specific advantages and disadvantages.
Option 1: Personal Travel card
If you are a frequent traveller within Rotterdam you can apply for your personal OV- Chipkaart by filling out a form at one of the sales offices or by easy online registration via www.ov-chipkaart.nl. Children and senior citizens can travel at a discount. Registration offers you insurance against loss or theft. If the balance on your personal travelcard is low, you can reload it online or at one of the sales locations. Furthermore, you can choose to automatically reload your travelcard from your bank account, so your chipcard balance will never be low. The personal travelcard is also valid for train travel within the Netherlands if your balance is at least €20 and you only pay for the exact mileage traveled. For each trip you pay a minor starting fee (€0,88) and a low rate per kilometer on top (€0,135).
Option 2: Anonymous Travel card
If you are a frequent traveller within Rotterdam you can purchase a so called anonymous OV- Chipkaart at of one the sales locations. No discount for kids and senior citizens. The anonymous Travel Chipcard can be used by more persons (not travelling at the same time). If the balance on your personal travelcard is low, you can reload it online or at one of the sales locations. The anonymous travelcard can also be used for train travel within the Netherlands if your balance is at least €20 and you only pay for the exact mileage travelled. For each trip you pay a minor starting fee (€0,88) and a low rate per kilometer (€0,135) on top.
Option 3: Disposable Travel card
If you are a tourist and visit Rotterdam just for a limited number of days, you can buy a disposable OV chipkaart. These types of cards cannot be used for train travel nor can they be reloaded. A trip with a disposable Travel Card is slightly more expensive. Not valid on board the waterbus and the the lightrail in the vicinity of The Hague. There are four types of disposable travel chipcards:
1) RET 1 hour
The RET 1 hour travel chipcard allows you to use tram, metro, bus and lightrail in Rotterdam during 60 minutes. The clock starts after your first 'touch-in'. You are allowed to change lines but your last 'touch-in' has to be done 60 minutes after your first 'touch-in'. Your card will automatically expire after 75 minutes after your first 'touch-in'.
2) RET 2 hours
The RET 2 hour travel chipcard allows you to use tram, metro, bus and lightrail in Rotterdam during 120 minutes. The clock starts after your first 'touch-in'. You are allowed to change lines but your last 'touch-in' has to be done 120 minutes after your first 'touch-in'. Your card will automatically expire after 135 minutes after your first 'touch-in'.
3) 2 x RET 1 hour
This card works the same like the RET 1 hour chipcard, but it allows you to use it twice. This card is like a return ticket when you're not able to return within one or two hours. Your chipcard will automatically expire after 75 minutes after your second 'touch-in'.
4) Day cards
The full day travel cards allow you to use tram, metro, bus and lightrail within Rotterdam during one, two or three days. It can not be used on board the night buses.
Touch and go
You must hold your travel chipcard in front of an electronic card reader, which is located at the train and metro stations or on board the bus and tram. 'Touch in' your card before entering public transport and 'touch out' after your trip in order to deduct the trip cost from your travel balance correctly. (physical contact with the card reader is not necessary but wait for the confirmation tone).
Rotterdam Welcome Card
If you plan to visit some attractions, museums or restaurants in Rotterdam as well, it might be better to buy the Rotterdam Welcome Card. This card includes free public transport for 1, 2 or 3 days and it entitles you to great discounts on entrance fees and special menus as well. You can find more information at the Rotterdam Welcome Card page.
Visit attractions in greater Rotterdam & The Hague on a Tourist Day Ticket
The Tourist Day Ticket is a disposable Transport-Debitcard, which entitles you to one day of unlimited travel by public transport (bus, tram, metro and Waterbus) within greater Rotterdam and The Hague. This cheap ticket is sold at the Tourist Information Offices of Rotterdam (Rotterdam.info), The Hague, Leiden, Ouddorp, Rockanje and Delft, at most railway stations and at many hotels in Rotterdam, The Hague and Scheveningen.
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