Public Transport in the Netherlands

Public transport refers to passenger transport that is open to the public. Anyone can use this transport service. In the Netherlands, public transport is subject to the Passenger Transport Act 2000. This act aims to improve the quality and efficiency of public transport whilst reducing prices.


The Passenger Transport Act 2000 is based on local governments receiving subsidies through the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. This enables them to procure urban, regional and local train services from an operator. For each concession area, the local government chooses the operator offering the best quality, the lowest price or a combination of the two. The state grants the contract for the national rail network. Up to 1 January 2015 this is granted to the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).

Consumer consultation

The Passenger Transport Act 2000 gives consumer organisations a formal role in public transport. The operator and local government must first present their plans to consumer organisations for advice. These passenger consultations are organised regionally and nationally.

Air travel

Air travel using passenger aircraft is also classed as public transport, however, the OV-chipkaart is not valid as a payment or ticket method here.


Public transport companies determine the following, in consultation with their local government:

  • Types of travel products (passes, discount products)
  • Reloading equipment (availability, operation)
  • Card readers/gates (availability, location, operation)
  • Fares per kilometre of travel
  • Refund on forgetting to check out
  • Information on travel options in their local area

We handle the following on behalf of the public transport companies:

  • OV-chipkaart Customer Services (for general questions)
  • website (with general information)
In addition, we offer automatic reloading directly to passengers with a personal OV-chipkaart. We have also developed services for the business market and hold the roles of Card Provider, Transaction Processor and Scheme Provider in the OV-chipkaart system.