The bus and tram systems within Holland provide excellent transport links within cities. Frequent bus services are available in all towns and cities; trams run in Amsterdam, The Hague, between Delft and The Hague, and in Rotterdam. Amsterdam and Rotterdam also have subways, referred to as the metro. Amsterdam's metro system has four lines, running southeast, northwest and southwest; Rotterdam's metro system has five lines (three east to west, one north to south, and one connecting to The Hague), which extend into the suburbs and cross in the city center for easy transfers.
Several large companies provide bus and tram services across the country, including Connexxion, BBA, and Arriva. GVB provides additional services in Amsterdam, HTM in The Hague, GVU in Utrecht, and RET in Rotterdam. There are maps of each city's network in most shelters. Buses are clean and easy to use, and bus lanes (shared only with taxis) remain uncongested, ensuring that you travel more swiftly than other traffic during rush hour.
To get around by bus, tram, or metro you'll need an OV-chipkaart (public transport chip card)—an electronic payment system, which you hold up to a detector each time you board and leave any bus or tram. Bought preloaded from metro, train, and bus stations, from some magazine kiosks, or from drivers, these credit card–size tickets can be topped up with credit from machines in the stations and are debited according to the distance traveled. Visit the OV-chipkaart website (www.ov-chipkaart.nl) or call the help desk (0900/500–6010) for more information. You can also buy tickets for individual journeys from bus/tram drivers, although this works out to be more expensive.
The OV-chipkaart can also be used on trains (note that the check-in/check-out detectors for the trains are clearly marked and in the railway stations, not on board).
Teams of ticket inspectors occasionally make spot checks on trams and buses. This doesn't happen often, but if you are checked and your OV-chipkaart hasn't been checked in, you face a fine.
Trains, Buses, Trams, and Ferries. Information on all public transportation, including schedules, fares for trains, buses, trams, and ferries in the Netherlands. 0900/9292 [€0.70 per min]. 9292.nl.
De Lijn (070/220–200 [€0.30 per min]. www.delijn.be.)
STIB/MIVB (070/232–000. www.stib.be.)
Eurolines (02/274–1350. www.eurolines.com.)
CCN Gare du Nord (rue du Progrès 80, St-Josse, Brugge. 02/203–0707.)
De Lijn (059/56–52–11. www.delijn.be.)
De Lijn (Oost-Vlaanderen) (09/210–9311 East Flanders. www.delijn.be.)