The GVB tram service is quite popular with Amsterdam commuters. Most of the trams terminate at Centraal Station, making this a particularly viable option for tourists. The wide windows also provide a great city view. For locals, the reloadable OV-Chipkaart makes more sense for tram rides–as well as for the other forms of transit in the GVB’s network. But one-hour tickets are available for purchase on most trams for €2.90, as well as 24 and 48-hour passes for €7.50 and €12.50, respectively. The trams operate until just past midnight each day.
The buses in Amsterdam are even more extensive than the trams, linking locals and visitors not only to the city’s major attractions, but also to its outlying neighborhoods. Rides can purchase one-hour tickets from the driver for €2.90. However, GVB tickets for longer denominations purchased elsewhere are also valid, as well as the OV-Chipkaart. As of 2016, riders can even pay with a pin card on GVB buses. For tourists planning on making a regional connection via bus, the special Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket for €13.50 may be a worthwhile purchase. Most buses run only during the day, but select night buses run from 12:30 am to 7:00 am. Night bus tickets cost €4.50.
The Metro subway trains in Amsterdam are swift and timely–but they’re one of the GVB’s most limited travel options. The four lines are a good way to quickly reach some of the city’s farthest neighborhoods. But for tourists who mainly want to see the city center, trams and buses may be more useful. As with the rest of the GVB network, the OV-Chipkaart is accepted on the Metro. Additionally, tickets of smaller denominations, as well as several day passes, are available at the convenient machines located in every Metro station. Be sure to take your ticket with you–there are entrance and exit gates on the Metro. Metro trains run from 6:00 am until midnight, and a new Metro line is due to open in 2017.
The GVB’s free ferry service is one of the best ways to cross the waters of the IJ. Most of the routes depart directly behind Centraal Station. These gigantic boats allow visitors to reach tourist sites like the EYE Film Museum. They’re easy to board and disembark: simply walk on, move forward to let others enter, and walk forward to exit on the other side. Each dock has a countdown clock that displays the time until the next departure. Bicycles are allowed on the ferries as well. There are additional routes that cross the North Sea Canal, and those routes will carry cars for a fee.
The NS operates commuter trains to various stations within Amsterdam, as well as to its suburbs, Schiphol Airport, other Dutch cities, and even to cities in Belgium, France, and Germany. Centraal Station is the main point of departure for NS trains, but there are also different stations throughout the city. Ticket prices depend upon the length of the trip. Traditional paper tickets are no longer available, but travelers can purchase print-at-home tickets online. The GVB’s OV-Chipkaart can also be used.
Bicycles are by far the most popular way for residents of Amsterdam to travel. It’s not uncommon to see entire families on one bike! There are dozens of companies in the city that rent bicycles to visitors–Yellow Bike, MacBike, and AmsterBike, are just a few. Amsterdam is an extremely safe city for biking, featuring wide bike lanes and even dedicated bike traffic lights. Be sure to lock your bike properly–bicycle theft is widespread.
There are many licensed taxis in Amsterdam. They offer a fast and safe way to travel the city–though public transit is certainly less expensive, and often faster. All taxis in the city start with a base fare of €2.83. After that, the maximum price per kilometer is €2.08, while the maximum price per minute is €0.34. Because traffic is so dense in the city center, taxis are only allowed to stop at designated stands. Drivers are required to present passengers with a receipt, which contains not only the price, but also the taxi information. Any complaints can be directed to www.taxiklacht.nl. In addition to regular taxis, pedicabs are also a popular alternative in bike-friendly Amsterdam.