National Tariff System

National Tariff System

The National Tariff System (Dutch: nationaal tariefsysteem or nationale vervoerbewijzen/NVB) is a nationwide ticketing and zoning scheme for local public transport in the Netherlands. The two key elements of ticketing in the system are the "strippenkaart" (Strip card) and the "sterabonnement" (Star subscription), both of which rely on the zoning element that divides the country up into several zones. Although a national system, it does not apply to Dutch Railways, which have their own pricing regime; however there are limited sections of railway (generally in urban areas or on non-NS lines) on which the system is valid.


The National Tariff System applies on most local bus and tram routes, with the exception of special tourist and leisure services, express services, night buses; and "buurtbussen", which are neighbourhood services run by volunteers.

Validity on the Railways

The system also applies to the following rail routes:
*GroningenRoodeschool (Arriva)
*Groningen – Delfzijl (Arriva)
*Groningen – Nieuweschans – [Leer|Leer [Germany] ] (Arriva)
*ArnhemWinterswijk (Syntus)
*Zutphen – Winterswijk (Syntus)
*Zutphen – Oldenzaal (Syntus)
*Zutphen – Apeldoorn (NS)
*Between all stations in the Amsterdam/Duivendrecht/Diemen urban area (not Schiphol)
*Between all stations in The Hague, Rijswijk and Voorburg
*Maastricht – Maastricht Randwyck
*Between all stations in Rotterdam, Capelle a/d IJssel, Schiedam and Vlaardingen
*Utrecht Overvecht – Utrecht Centraal – Utrecht Lunetten



The Strippenkaart is a ticket which is comprised of several strips, which must be validated when used. The passenger either validates the ticket themselves in an automatic machine, or the ticket is stamped by the driver or conductor. The number of strips to be cancelled is always the number of zones travelled through plus one extra strip, up to a maximum of 20 strips; therefore in the example in the photo, the user has made two journeys, the first through three zones, and the second in a single zone. Once validated, the ticket is valid for a certain duration dependent on the number of zones used, from 1 hour for 2 to 4 strips, to 3.5 hours for 17 to 20 strips. [nl [] ]

Strippenkaart tickets are available in denominations of 2, 3, 8, 15 and 45 strips. Reduced tariff tickets are only available in 15 strip versions. An 8-strip ticket can be used as a one-day ticket in The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht if especially validated (at the same cost). This is normally done by stamping vertically instead of horizontally. This is also the case in Amsterdam, but only for operators other than the municipal transport authority (GVB), who will issue a separate 24-hour ticket [] ]

"Strippenkaart prices (as at 2008-01-01)"

Strippenkaarts are sold at various outlets, including tobacconists, tourist offices and public transport company shops. Only the smaller denomination tickets (up to 8 strips) are available on board, hence the small difference in price between 8 and 15 strip tickets, to encourage pre-purchasing which speeds up boarding times.


The Sterabonnement is the season ticket of Dutch local public transport. It is similar to the Strippenkaart in that it is zone dependent, although validity is set at the time of purchase to the number of zones chosen. The Sterabonnement is slightly different from the Strippenkaart as each ticket's validity is dependent on its "star" value ("Ster" is the Dutch word for star). The table below summarises the Sterabonnement's validity.


The "Zomerzwerfkaart" or "Summer roaming card" is a special ticket only available during June, July and August, which allows the bearer to travel for a whole day in the Netherlands on public transport subject to the National Tariff System. This ticket, however, is not sold by Connexxion, but is nevertheless valid on the company's services.


As with many other transport ticketing systems, smart cards will (according to plan) in 2009 replace the currently existing paper tickets. The Strippenkaart will disappear and be replaced by a point-to-point (as opposed to zone-to-zone) based tariff, directly paid from an electronic purse on the traveler's card. All other products, like Sterabonnementen, monthly or yearly subscriptions, the OV jaarkaart for students etc. will continue to exist, albeit in electronic form. The Dutch system (which is already being rolled out), is called the "OV-Chipkaart". The OV-Chipkaart was first introduced in 2005 in Rotterdam. In 2006, the program was expanded to include all Metro lines and the SnelTram line in Amsterdam (50, 51, 53, 54). In 2008, all trams and buses will start accepting the OV-Chipkaart, and it will be possible to purchase an OV-Chipkaart anywhere in the Netherlands, with the intention that the Strippenkaart will be phased out on January 1, 2009.

The OV-Chipkaart will come in three varieties – a disposable ticket, intended for occasional travelers, e.g. tourists; an anonymous permanent ticket that can be bought from Ticket Vending Machines at many stations; and a personalised, permanent ticket. A disposable ticket does not contain an e-purse, and can be used only to load simple tickets, like one-way or return tickets. Not all Dutch public transport operators will issue this kind of tickets. An anonymous permanent ticket does contain an e-purse, and can contain multiple travel products simultaneously. However, it is not possible to auto-reload the e-purse, and some types of product, e.g. subscriptions cannot be loaded onto an anonymous card. A personalised card is technically identical to an anonymous card, but contains a photo ID on the front of the card, and the birthdate of the traveler in the data on the card. The e-purse on such a card can be reloaded automatically if the saldo is below a certain threshold, if the owner of the card has given TLS the right to automatically draw the reloading amount from his bank account. Moreover, a personalised card can contain all types of subscriptions.

Users of the OV-Chipkaart must wave their card in front of a card reader when entering and leaving a tram or bus. In the Metro stations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, gates are being installed to prevent people from entering or leaving the system without first waving a valid card. Until the final phase out of the Strippenkaart, at each station at least one gate will always be open in order to allow travelers with a Strippenkaart.

The OV-Chipkaart is based on Philips (currently NXP Semiconductors) Mifare technology. The regular cards (anonymous and personal) are Mifare Classic 4K cards with about 4 kilobytes of available storage. These cards are locked for both reading and writing with keys only known by the card vendors. The temporary passes are cheaper Mifare Ultralight cards that do not employ encryption or keys, and can be read by anyone. The Mifare encryption algorithm (known as Crypto1 is considered cracked nowadays. [cite web |url= |accessdate=2008-01-14 |work=24th Chaos Communication Congress |title=Mifare — Little Security, Despite Obscurity] Even so, the transport corporations will push through with the introduction of the OV-Chipkaart, since the security of the system does not rely on the encryption of the tickets. When the complete security system is in place, authorities will be able to detect fraudulent cards (whether cloned cards or changed content, e.g. a not-warranted e-purse reload) and put suspect cards on a black list. [cite web
title= Invoering ov-chipkaart gaat verder
accessdate= 2008-02-29
date= 2008-02-29
work= NOS Teletekst
publisher= NOS
language= Dutch


ee also

* nl.Wikipedia page about the Strippenkaart (in Dutch)
* nl.Wikipedia page about the OV-Chipkaart (in Dutch)

External links

* [ Information about the Strippenkaart system] (in Dutch)
* [ (Amsterdam Public Transport Authority) page explaining the Sterabonnement system] (in English)

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