• Stefanie and Mallory

Going from A to B in the Netherlands Made Easy

Updated: Mar 9, 2018

Authors: Michelle Feng & Lyanne Spittje

Utrecht Central train Station: check in. Getting off the train at Rotterdam Central Station: check out. Taking the metro from Rotterdam Central Station: check in. Getting off the metro at Rotterdam Alexander: check out. Renting a bike at Rotterdam Alexander: check in.

Repeat. This cycle of commuting from city to city, though seemingly chaotic, is expedited by the smooth public transportation implemented by the Dutch railway systems. Visualizing this trip alone would typically cause people to break out in a cold sweat and be ridden with anxiety, immediately overwhelmed at the thought of how many tickets one would have to purchase and where. Luckily for the Dutch, they have one big problem less to worry about. Since the general implementation of the OV-chipcard in 2012 (, there is no need for separate tickets for each transportation company anymore. With the implementation of a universal, reloadable card to facilitate transportation throughout the country, people can use their personal card to pay for almost every form of public transport and even for renting an ‘OV-bike’. A card owner can prepay a certain amount of money to their card, and use this at all available public transport companies. By providing this general public transport card, the government promotes the usage of public transport, and subsequently discourages use of private vehicles within the country. This has great advantages. Traveling by public transport reduces traffic levels throughout cities and on highways, which in turn causes a reduction in congestions entirely. Less cars on the road also means less carbon emissions, which is beneficial to the environment ( More usage of public transport has a positive effect on the economy as well: money spent on public transport is more directly invested into benefits for civilians than money spent on gasoline and more jobs are created when usage of public transport increase. This trickle-down effect brings back the monetary benefits created from this system and circles it back to the people -- ultimately enhancing citizens’ happiness and satisfaction as a whole. As stated in Governance: What Do We Know, and How Do We Know It? by Fukuyama (2016), citizen satisfaction is one of the most important goals to achieve in establishing good governance. Moreover, this ties into the matter of how successful implementation of public policy on both the state and local level has been shaped by collaborative efforts between private and public networks towards a universalized goal oriented at the community. Besides the clear pro’s for the national economy, usage of public transport can be very attractive both individual and the financial level, whereas one won’t have to pay the parking costs, maintenance costs, and other heavy expenses that accompany car ownership. So in conclusion we could state that the OV-chipcard has contributed to the attractiveness of taking public transport, which has positive effects on the economy, the environment and the financial status of civilians.


Fukuyama, Francis. 2016 Governance: What Do We Know, and How Do We Know It? Annual Review of Political Science 19(1): 89–105.

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This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No694266)