s-Hertogenbosch

Getting around

Getting around

Getting around Den Bosch is pretty simple, but here are a few tips and suggestions. The Old Town of 's-Hertogenbosch is in fact so small, that you can easily walk everywhere. In case if you have to go a bit farther, renting a bike is a good option.Travelling to farther destinations by bus or train requires an OV-chipkaart.

The OV-chipkaart is the new means of payment for the public transport system in the Netherlands. The smart card is the size of a bankcard and it contains an invisible chip. The OV-chipkaart can be loaded with credit in euros with which you can travel anywhere within the Netherlands, or with a travel product such as a single or season ticket.
You can choose a personal, anonymous or disposable card. The personal OV-chipkaart can be purchased online or from your public transport company. The anonymous OV-chipkaart can be bought at the ticket office and vending machines at the station. The disposable card can be purchased at the station vending machine.

This cards allows the holder to travel immediately, but it can not be re-charged or loaded with a different travel product.

You can load travel credits or products onto your OV-chipkaart. Travel products single as well as season tickets. You can load these onto your card at the station vending machine or at the local public transport company’s ticket office.You purchase travel credit using a bankcard and PIN code at a vending machine or at the ticket office. If you have a personal OV-chipkaart, you can also select the auto-reload option to ensure you always have enough OV-chipkaart credit with which to travel. When you begin your journey simply check in at the gate by holding your OV-chipkaart up to the screen.
The sound and light signal indicates your card has been read. If you don't have a specific product on your card a boarding rate will automatically be deducted when you check in. The credit on your OV-chipkaart should be at least the boarding rate or you won't be allowed to go through the gate.
At that end of your journey, you check out by holding your card up to the gate screen. The sound and light signal once again indicates that your card has been read. Checking in and out is required when you transfer from any one form of transport to another, except when you transfer from one train to another.

Road assistance

If your stranded in the Netherlands with whatever carproblems you can imagine, have no fear. There are two reliable companies who can help. The ANWB (www.anwb.nl or 088-26 92 888) is the oldest company and has years of experience in helping stranded and damaged vehicles. Route Mobiel (www.routemobiel.nl or 020-651 51 15) is a fairly new company with the same task: helping you where ever you are stranded. Note that any accident or incident that requires an insurance claim must be reported to the police or your insurer will not pay the bills.

Taxis

's-Hertogenbosch taxis are safe, clean and generally reliable. Ordering a taxi by phone will get you better service and lower rates for longer distances. The great majority of Dutch taxi drivers are honest and hard working people like everybody else in this country. But essentially you are at the mercy of the driver once you've shut the door. Just make sure that the meter is running before you set off.
The following companies are among the most reliable of the bunch.

Buses

In ‘s-Hertogenbosch there are no less than 62 bus routes operating between 06:30 - 24:00 to various places in and around the city. The starting point of these buses is almost always at the central train station. The red and white minibus 220Xpress is the first electric public transport vehicle in the Netherlands and you can take it if you need a ride to the Parade or the North Brabant Museum. A ticket can be bought from the driver for one euro or you can use your OV-chipkaart if you have one.
If you arrive by train and want to take a bus, just walk in the direction of the centre and take the escalators down. Buses are parked to your right waiting for their planned departure times. Despite the fact that signs with place-names (and departure schedules) display which bus goes where at what time, it may still be wise to ask for advice at the Arriva Service desk (open 07:00 - 22:15), which is located on the ground floor of the building to the left of the buses.

Trains

Train travel in the Netherlands is easy. In Den Bosch you probably won’t need a train to travel anywhere locally, as everything in the city centre can be reached on foot. If you’d like to visit another city you can buy tickets at a ticket machine or at the NS service desk. You can also travel at night on Fridays and Saturdays to Tilburg, Eindhoven, Breda and Dordrecht.
If you plan on staying in the Netherlands for a longer period of time you might consider buying a Voordeelurenabonnement (Off-peak Discount Pass). Travel cheaply outside the morning peak period is its motto. On weekdays you receive a 40% discount on train fare for journeys made after 09:00 in the morning. The card costs €55/year and the price of a passport photo. Card holders can travel with up to three people and get the same 40% discount on the full fare. For more information visit www.ns.nl.

Train tickets

‘s-Hertogenbosch has two train stations: Central Station and Station East. Station East isn't very interesting and most visitors arrive at the Central Station, which offers an opportunity to travel to almost any major city in the Netherlands, with direct lines to Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht, to name a few, or one simple transfer to Groningen, the Hague and Rotterdam. Tickets can be bought at a ticket machine or at the NS service desk. Tickets are checked often and steep fines are charged for anyone not in possession of a ticket. The yellow-blue ‘s-Hertogenbosch ticket machines are located at the top of the escalators on the centre (and bus) side of the station. The machines have a touch screen with a language option. On the left side you can choose whether you would like a single ticket, a day ticket, a 5-day ticket or a weekend ticket. Children below the age of 11 will receive a discount if you select this option. After having chosen your type of ticket, select your destination. You are allowed to get out at any station along the way, for as long as you want, providing that the station is between your station of departure and your destination. Next select how many tickets you would like and then you can pay. Unfortunately, ticket machines only accept Dutch bankcards, so as a tourist you'll probably have to pay in cash. Be sure to have plenty of coins with you, because inserting banknotes is (as of yet) impossible, but the relatively intelligent machine will give back change. Don't forget to take the ticket from the slot at the bottom left of the machine.
If this sounds too complicated, you can always buy a ticket at the NS service desk, which you can find at the top of the escalators to your right. This alcove also houses the NS Helpdesk. Bear in mind that you will have to pay €0.50 surcharge for this service. This is thankfully not too expensive, but it is typically Dutch to charge for such services, and the formerly government-owned business appears to have patented this form of 'customer service.' You can plan your journey in English at the excellent www.ns.nl.

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