To travel by public transport in the Rotterdam area and the Netherlands in general, you will need a special card called OV chipcard to pay the travel costs. After topping up this card you can check in and check out using practically any means of transport and you will pay for the amount of travelled kilometers.
There are two types of OV chipcards, they both cost € 7,50. With this card you can travel by train, tram, metro, bus and even the waterbus. In some cases, it is even impossible to pay for a paper ticket with cash.
- Personal OV chipcard (includes your picture and date of birth, you can apply for discounts and extra services, such as renting a bike at all available train stations in the Netherlands)
You can order an OV chipcard here. Please note you need a Dutch bank account for this.
- Anonymous OV chipcard (no picture and it can be used by everyone, but you cannot apply for discounts and extra services). You can buy the anonymous OV chipcard at the RET office at Rotterdam Centraal station and at the ticket machines at other stations.
One of the best websites to check the fastest route from A to B is 9292, it includes all means of public transport and it is also completely available in English. You can also download the 9292 app.
You can also find assistance choosing the best travel subscription on this website. After selecting your route, scroll down to the blue button ‘Show subscription information’. Here you put in your age and the number of days per week or per month you travel this route. Once you press ‘Get advice’, you will see both the regular price travelling by OV chipcard and the most economical subscription available, with a direct link to the page to buy this subscription. Please note you need a personal OV chipcard to be able to buy these subscriptions.
Student travel product
Full degree students can also check if they are eligible for the student travel product. This is offered by DUO, the organization that is also responsible for student finance (a loan to pay for your studies). If you qualify for student finance, then you should also be able to get the student travel product, which allows you to use public transport for free or at a reduced rate. Go to the DUO website to find more information.
As you probably know, cycling is very popular in the Netherlands. Usually cycling is the fastest way to go from A to B in the city centre of Rotterdam. Most students will buy a second hand bike or get a monthly subscription to Swapfiets. Swapfiets will provide you with a brand new bike and your subscription will cover repair costs or provide you with a new bike when necessary.