Amsterdam Bus Tips: How to ride the bus like a pro

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Amsterdam bus tips
In through the front, and out through the back on buses in Amsterdam. Photo: Vitalyzator

It might seem ridiculous to write a post on how to use a bus in Amsterdam. Most of us know how to ride a bus. But the particulars of riding public transportation in countries you’re visiting can be tricky enough to embarrass you with even the simplest task, like paying for your fare incorrectly, or entering through the exit.

With that in mind, here are five tips for riding the buses like a pro in Amsterdam.

1. Enter in the front.

Trams in Amsterdam have entrances both in the front and in the middle where travelers can buy tickets on board. But on the bus, you only enter in the front. That’s it. Entering elsewhere will result in bumpy run-ins with people getting off the bus, and the driver will announce over the bus speakers that you messed up, in Dutch. Shame.

2. Bring €2.80 by day, €4.50 by night.

A single ticket on city buses during the day will cost €2.80 for a one-hour trip. This includes any transfers you might need to make on another bus, tram or metro. After an hour the ticket expires and you must purchase a new one.

If you will be traveling often on public transport, look into purchasing a one-day, two-day, or up to a one week travel card.

3. Check in, check out.

Just like the trams, buses also have OV-Chipkaart pads that everyone must use when boarding and exiting public transportation. Place your travel card against one of these grey electronic pads until it beeps, flashes a green light and wishes you a “Goed Reis.”

When exiting the bus, do the same thing before stepping off.

4. Don’t sit in the special seats.

All buses have seats reserved for the handicapped, elderly, or pregnant woman. These are always in the front of the bus, and are sometimes indicated by a specially designed fabric. If you do happen to take one of these seats (and you don’t qualify as one of the aforementioned groups), be sure to give it up when a passenger in need enters.

5. Exit in the middle or in the rear.

So you got on the bus, you paid, you rode, and now it’s time to exit. It’s not a free-for-all when exiting. There’s an order. Never exit the way you entered (through the front door), because you’ll block those waiting to get on. Exit through the middle or back doors. And don’t forget to “check out” your ticket on the grey OV-Chipkaart electronic pads.

When to use the bus

Using the bus is most common when going under the Ij River to Amsterdam Noord. The No. 22 is a popular bus to get from East to West via the city center, while most people find themselves waiting for a night bus ride home after an evening out.

The bus can also be helpful when looking for day trips outside the city, or as an alternate way to get to Amsterdam Schipol Airport.

Also in our guide: Looking for more practical advice about visiting Amsterdam? Be sure to stop by our guide to the city’s best budget hotels. Our editors inspect and review the best affordable accommodations in the city center. Also visit our city guide to read more articles about transportation, budget tips and getting in from the airport.

Your bus tips?

Have a tip for riding the bus in Amsterdam? Share with us in the comments section!

About the author

About the author: Audrey Sykes hopped across the pond from the US eight years ago for a Masters degree in global journalism. Since then, she’s lived all over Europe, reporting and editing for music sites, snowboard mags, and travel media. She’s also the Amsterdam author for Party Earth, a guide to nightlife across Europe.

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One thought on “Amsterdam Bus Tips: How to ride the bus like a pro”

  1. Audrey! You forgot the most important tip of all – the €7,50 24-hour ticket (which you can also purchase from the bus driver)!

    At €2,80 per single-ticket ride (and €4,50 late-night) that all-you-can-eat ticket becomes economical very fast! Yes, it’s valid for nightbuses as well.


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