easy and convenient
The 40% Discount Card (Dal Voordeel) is the most popular among a range of season tickets offered by the NS which can be loaded onto your OV chipkaart. For an annual fee of currently €50, you get a steep 40% discount of the regular fare for every trip your are making during off-peak hours. It does not take a genious to understand the tremendous savings you can make with this card.
An example: at current prices a single ticket from Ede-Wageningen to Amsterdam Central costs €14,40; with a 40% discount you pay €8.64. There are many more advantages to the discount cards which I am going to explain on this page. Also, one of the key disadvantages will also be discussed.
In 2011 public transport operators introduced the OV-Chipkaart, an electronic card that substitutes paper cards. By means of this card, which costs €7,50, you can use the Dutch public transport system. Everywhere in Holland, whether you take the train, bus, metro or tram you are nowadays required to check-in and check out with your OV-Chipkaart. Obviously, you have to charge it first, in order to use it. If you decide not to buy such a card, it will cost you approximately 0,50 eurocents extra to buy a paper train ticket. Paper tickets can also be bought for bus, metro or tram rides. In Amsterdam for example, you can buy day tickets or hour tickets but if you simply want to use the metro only for a specific route, you will most probably pay an extra fee.
The OV-Chipkaart does not only substitute a paper ticket, it can also be upgraded with several discount deals. If you include one of these deals the NS waives the costs for the card itself. This saves you € 7,50.
The NS Discount Cards
The Dutch railways offers several season card for you to choose from. These are:
In the following section the Off-peak Discount Card is explained.
If you are planning to stay in Holland for a longer period of time, maybe as an ERASMUS student, foreign student or expat, and you are planning to travel by public transport outside peak hours, it is advisable to get yourself an OV-Chipkaart, and include a Off-peak Discount Card from the NS in it. Giving you a 40% discount in off-peak hours it significantly cuts your costs in travelling by public transport. On top of that, you can take up to 3 travel campanions with you who can also benefit from this discount.
Although the regular contract length of this discount card is normally 1 year, even if you are in the Netherlands only for 3-6 months buying a card is worthwhile. As the name suggest, the discount applies only if you travel ‘off-peak’. This is during the week from 9am – 4pm and from 6.30pm – 6.30am. In the weekends you can travel the whole day with 40% discount, from friday 6.30pm - monday 6.30am. During public holidays the discount card is also valid and you can travel with a 40% discount the entire day.
To start with, you will have to make an initial investment of €50, but this will definitely pay-off on the short term, depending how often you travel. For example, when you make 4 return trips between Arnhem and Amsterdam you have already paid off your investment. The same goes for 2 return trips between Maastricht and Groningen.
For those of you that apply for this card the first time, the NS (Dutch Railways) is waiving the costs for the card itself. This saves you € 7,50. These are costs you would have to pay when you only want a public transport card (OV-kaart) without any discount
The NS discount subscription gets extended automatically each year. However, you may cancel your discount card after your first year (not within the first year)
Important is that you cancel your discount subscription well in advance, at least one month before you want the cancellation to be effective. For example, if the date that your discount subscription expires is the 3rd of April, if you do nothing is will automatically extend and the complete amount of €50 will be taken from your bank account. However, if you plan to cancel your discount card, inform the NS before the 3rd of March. Better even a few days earlier to be sure. After the first year, you can cancel on a monthly basis, so if you make use of the discount for a few months after the first year, the NS will reimburse you the costs that remain for the rest of the following year that you paid for and will not make use of.
There are various ways to cancel your season ticket, these are:
When you cancel your discount subscription you can still keep the physical OV-chip card and use it to purchase bus/train/tram/metro saldo to travel around NL. Whenever you decide to buy a new discount subscription you can use this same OV-chip card again, the discount subscription will then automatically be loaded on your old card again (when you enter your OV-chip card number).
I was myself a foreign student in the Netherlands and I had many foreign friends. Most of them did not make use of this 40% discount card even though they were in the Netherlands for 2 years and many are still there. I think that there are 2 main reasons for that. First, many foreign people coming to the Netherlands do not have any information on this discount. Second, information about the discount card on the NS homepage is only provided in Dutch. Once you load the English version of the site, all the discount information is gone. Try and see yourself: www.ns.nl – Click on ‘English’.
Key Disadvantage -
Ordering Discount Card Online
Currently, online orders cannot be made with credit cards. NS only allows Dutch bank account holders to make a payment through iDeal. There are ways around this. If you want to order your discount card anyways, please get in touch with me through the below contact form.
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