As a cyclist I rarely use the trams, but I am highly in favor of them on general principles and was very impressed with the fast and efficient tram system in Amsterdam.
Some of the newer trams even have a live human conductor who sells and checks tickets. By his presence he also serves to keep order and prevent vandalism.
You don't see this any more in Germany, where they go to absurd lengths to avoid hiring human personnel, and then moan about the unemployment rate being too high.
Second photo: Tram number 9 goes from Centraal Station to Diemen via Damrak, Waterlooplein and Linnaeusstraat. You could take this line to go out to the Frankendael House, for example.
Third photo: Tram 25 goes from Centraal Station to President Kennedylaan via Damrak, Muntplein and Weteringcircuit. In my photo it is waiting for the lights to change, meanwhile lots of cyclists are going by.
Most attractions in center city are just a half walk from the Central Station, but sometimes taking a tram is more convenient.
10 different Trams travel to/from the Central Station, covering all areas of center city.
The Tram is managed by the GVB, the Amsterdam Transport Authority also managing the local metro, buses and ferries.
These are the Amsterdam Tram lines:
-1 -Centraal Station-Osdorp de Aker
-2 -Centraal Station-Oudenaardeplantsoen
-4 -Centraal Station-Drentepark
-5 -Centraal Station-Binnenhof
-7 -Sloterpark (bad)-Flevopark
-9 -Centraal Station-Diemen Sniep
-13-Centraal Station-Lambertus Zijlplein
-16-Centraal Station-Gustav Mahlerlaan
-25-Passenger Terminal Amsterdam-President Kennedylaan
-26-Centraal Station-IJburg Ruisrietstraat
Like taking a metro or bus you can travel the metro with an "OV chipkaart".
Disposable tickets can be bought at the trams (depending on the type at the driver or the conductor)
Much on the trams is self-service:
-opening the entry doors
-checking in your OV chipkaart
-pressing the stop button if you want to leave at the next stop
-checking out your OV chipkaart
Center city trams and metro map
With a one-day or multi-day ticket (dagkaart) a tourist would think that after the first check in on the tram, metro or bus he would be all right as this card entitles to unlimited travel in Amsterdam for the number of hours paid for.
That is not the case as you will read on the GVB website about the day or multiple day cards:
"With this OV-chipkaart, you must check-in and check-out when boarding or disembarking from a tram, bus, or metro.
It is important that you always check in and check out of each vehicle. This includes when transferring. To check in, just hold your card in front of the card reader (you will hear a beep and see a green light flash). These are located at all the entrance and exit doors of trams and buses. When exiting the tram or bus, you should check out by holding your card in front of the card reader once again. In the metro hold your card in front of the metro gate to open the metro gate. When transferring by metro you do not have to check out, and check in again in between your journey. You should only check out at the end of your metro journey."
The check out is important, on some type of trams it opens the door; a recorded voice remembers in Dutch and English to check out.
There are also stop buttons on the trams and busses to ask for the stop.
On the GVB website one can find various maps also available in PDF and easy to print. Inside the trams or busses the destination and next stop are shown on a display and announced by voice.
What is special with trams 1, 2 and 5 is that in the very commercial and narrow Leidsestraat they alternate because there is only one railtrack. They wait their turn on the bridges over the Prinsengracht and Keizergracht as you can see from my photo.
First thing to do if you want to travel inside Amsterdam by tram or bus is to buy a multi-day travel ticket when arriving, like most tourists, at the Central Station (see my previous tip).
There are two possibilities:
Start queuing at the GVB ticket & Info office on the Stationplein or go downstairs at the exit of the station to the Metro. In the hall (see the map) you will find 4 vending machines. Explanations on the touch screen machine are in Dutch and in English.
For tourists best are GVB "dagkaarten" day or multiple day cards entitling unlimited travel around Amsterdam - day and night - on bus, tram and metro, for the number of 24 hours that best suits you.
The number of hours starts at first check in on the public transport mean.
Here are the fares for 2013:
1 day - 24 hours € 7.50 can be bought directly on tram or bus.
2 days - 48 hours € 12.00
3 days - 72 hours € 16.50
4 days - 96 hours € 21.00 these can be bought at the vending machines in the Metro stations.
For more days up to 7 one has to go in one of the 4 GVB offices at Amsterdam main stations.
On the vending machine choose your language, type of ticket, number of hours/days and do not forget to enter "betaling contant" cash payment before entering your Euro notes or coins.
These machines are also used for the OV chipcards mostly used by the inhabitants.
My photo shows a 96 hour/4 days ticket at 21 €.
If you want to travel by tram or bus in Amsterdam the first thing to do is to read the information in Dutch and English on the website of the www.gvb.nl ;GVB is the public transportation company for Amsterdam. You will also find maps of all transports.
On the home page you will find a TOURIST GUIDE with valuable info. I show here what is most important:
"Gvb tickets & info
For information in person about the public transport options in Amsterdam, we invite you to visit gvb tickets & info. Here you can also buy tickets, obtain route maps and timetables for all of the gvb routes in Amsterdam."
"Where are public transport chip cards sold?
Public transport chip cards, as well as GVB day or multi-day tickets (valid for 24-168 hours), are sold at GVB Tickets & Info. The day ticket is also sold in trams and buses. You can buy a 1 to 4-day ticket (valid for 24-96 hours) at the ticket vending machines at all metro stations."
Best for tourists is to buy the day tickets 1(24 h), 2 (48 h), 3 (72 h) or 4 day (96h) ticket and more till 7 days.
But here start the difficulty for the foreign visitor.
There are only 4 GVB Tickets & Info offices in Amsterdam at these four stations:
GVB Tickets & Info, Stationsplein Central Station:
Monday to Friday: 07:00 - 21:00 and
Saturday and Sunday: 08:00 - 21:00.
GVB Tickets & Info, Station Bijlmer ArenA:
GVB Tickets & Info, Station Lelylaan
GVB Tickets & Info, Station Zuid
Most foreign visitors arrive at Central Station so that tourists are queuing at this office outside the station on the square.
The other possibilities are the vending machines at all metro stations but only for 1 - 4 day tickets.
As the Metro lines do not cross the city centre the only metro station located in the tourist area is the one at the Central Station with 4 vending machines accepting cash (eventually the one at the Waterlooplein).
Only the 1 day ticket is sold in trams and buses.
From my experience there are no other places where one can buy multi-day tickets than the 4 GVB offices and the metro stations (only 1 in the tourist area).
So that when you arrive in Amsterdam CS the first thing to do is to buy a multi-day ticket at the GVB office or in the underground Metro station.
Everyone keeps telling me that things are 'just a five minute walk'. Well I don't want to walk. I know I will HAVE to walk sometimes, but I'm not going out of my way to walk. I got a large blood blister on my big toe which I've been nursing along since the first day on the ship and it has gone down some but is still tender. So, we went out of the hotel and got on a tram that was going to the Central Station which was where the boat terminal was.
Oops - I got on the exit door. The conductor reprimanded me, and then apparently felt sorry for us because she let us ride free for the one stop that it would take to go to the Central Station.
We got off the Hop On Hop Off Canal boat, Now to get back to our hotel. I went to the information desk that was there near Central Station and took a number to buy a tram ticket at about 1645. When I was finally waited on at about 1700 the lady said I could go on any tram except 26 to get back to our hotel.
I really needed to find the specific trams that were on my map as the ones that stopped there. But relying on her directions, we got on tram 9 and that wasn't one of the ones. The driver indicated that we must walk back several blocks after his stop. Ugh
Amsterdam's public transport network cover the city and surrounding areas. It consists of metro, trams and buses during the day. Night services are provided by night-buses.
In 2010 a new electronic ticket system with so called "OV chipcards" has been introduced. For tourists the following ticket options seem to be useful: 24, 48, 72 hours cards for 7,50 Euro, 12,00 Euro or 16 Euro (prices of October 2012).
A single 1 hour card costs 2,70 Euro and this one as well as the 24 h card can be purchased onboard from the driver. Aprt from that, all tickets are available from GVB offices; e.g. opposite of the Central Railway Station.
When boarding a vehicle the ticket has to be placed on the electronic sensor near the entrance (chipping in). This also has to be done when leaving the vehicle (chipping-out).
As a lot of people on this forum say, the tram really is the best way to move around Amsterdam. Especially in the center of Amsterdam. If you have to travel further distances, it might be more convenient to use the subway/metro. If you don't know anything about it, using the tram in Amsterdam can be quite difficult, so it's reccomended to gather some information about the Amsterdam tram. The sites I like to use are www.9292ov.nl and www.nl-ingelicht.nl/verkeer/tram-amsterdam.
The tram system in Amsterdam is very efficient and modern.With much of the city and surrounding districts covered by the network and a waiting time for most trams usually no longer than 15 minutes.We were based in the Slotermeer district in the west of Amsterdam and regulary took trams to the city centre.Its best to purchase a 24 hour ticket if you plan on using several trams a day,for 7 euros 50 it offers unlimited travel on the network all day no matter how many journeys you make,these can be purchashed from the driver when boarding.Just remember to place your ticket over the pass gate every time you get on or off the tram,this will beep if you have done it.
Getting around in Amsterdam is not a big problem. Some of the interesting or must visit places are quite adjacent to one another...walking is very possible. However, some places do need a little bit of traveling but it's no big deal. Trams were everywhere. It's quite tricky to identify the right tram, but the way I did it...we just hopped on any tram and ask the conductor inside. They were very helpful, and if we have taken the wrong tram...we just go down on the next stop. Anyway, I used the 24 hrs tram ticket during my stay in Amsterdam. It's 7 euro per ticket and can be used as many times as I wish for 24 hours. The 1 hr ticket is 2.60 euro per ticket. Well, the 24 hours ticket was definitely very useful for me and would recommend it for those who wish to take many tram rides in 24 hours :)
The picture here was taken in Zeeburgerdijk while I was waiting for a tram to the city. Traveling in trams were indeed fast, cheap and convenient for as long as you don't carry too heavy/big luggage since the trams don't really stop for a long time. The trams moved fast, so make sure to hold on something when you're standing.
“Viewed from its streets one sees little or nothing of the Amsterdam that painters have loved. It is far from attractive. I might say it is repulsive, as its own people confess, and confirm their opinion by action, for they flee from the city whenever possible.”
— from ‘Netherlands — How We Saw Amsterdam’ in “Antiques Digest” 1906
Things have changed greatly since this appeared in “Antiques Digest” in 1906. Amsterdam is very attractive. The best way to see the city is on foot. That is how we see all cities we visit. Therefore, we did not ride a tram in Amsterdam. We walked everywhere. It is that kind of city.
The tram system is extensive and well organized. It is eco-friendly. Use it! Please.
Tram travel is an easy and inexpensive way to get around Amsterdam.
Also look out for Diana who is a tram driver here. We got on the number 5 tram and who should be our driver?... Yep Diana..... and a very cheeful and helpful driver she is! :o)
Central Amsterdam is served by 16 TRAM Lines and are the primary means of getting around. Since streets are narrow and parking scarce, taking a tram is highly recommended. Centraal Station is the Terminal point for 11 of the 16 Tram Lines and where we took Tram 16 to get us to the French Embassy - our first stop. My sister-in-law Nel had a card which she used for us. Disposable chipkaart singles cost Euro 2,60 or 2 for Euro 5,00. 24-hour ticket cost Euro 7,00. Don't try and travel on a tram without a valid ticket as agents do regular checks and on-the-spot fines of Euro37,50 apply.
The Tram Line 5 (which our friend Diana/ VT member Dila drives) is the busiest with over 40,000 passengers per day. The line traverses 3 Zones and has 27 stops. An average journey from one end to the other takes about 40 minutes.
Why use the 15 strip strippenkaart over a day ticket in Amsterdam? Here are some reasons:
1) Within Central Amsterdam you only need to stamp two strips on your strippenkaart and you can already travel for one hour so long as you keep within the same fare zone.
2) You can use 1 strippenkaart for more than 1 person. You just need to stamp the appropriate number of strips for each person.
3) Strippenkaarts are valid for at least a year from date of purchase and are valid throughout the Netherlands not just Amsterdam. So if you intend on going to other places in Holland, you can still use your strippenkaart so long as it still has unused strips of course.
4) Buying the 15 strip (6.5 Euro) ticket is more cost effective than buying 2 strip tickets (1.60 Euro) from the tram driver everytime you take a ride. Note you can't buy the 15 strip ticket on trams or buses. You must do so at ticket machines in train stations or at GVB ticket outlets such as that in front of Amsterdam Centraal. A number of small kiosks and newsstands also sell the 15 strip ticket.
Fares, maps and schedules are easily accessible on the comprehensive website operated by the GVB which is the Public Transport Company of Amsterdam. The website has an English version.
The trams are spread all over the city , you can buy ticket on the tram and there are tickets for 1 hour and more.
This is a great opportunity to see the city like the local people and get to far places.
I used the tram to get to the t'ij brewery and for 2 Euros only.
It took me 10 minutes by tram instead of walking for more than 1 hour !