Free public transport scheme for low-income Amsterdam residents starting on Monday
Beginning Monday, people with lower incomes will have the opportunity to get a free public transport ticket for the greater Amsterdam area. These tickets grant one and a half hours of travel on buses, trams, and metros throughout Vervoerregio Amsterdam, the Amsterdam public transport region. This does not cover use on the NS, the national operator.
Anyone earning up to 130 percent of the minimum income level is eligible for the scheme. Approximately 95,000 families across 14 Noord-Holland municipalities qualify for the initiative, according to Melanie van der Horst, the Amsterdam alderman for transportation. Each household can request up to eight tickets annually through a dedicated website. “Enough for a family to reach all destinations within the transportation region and return home,” wrote Vervoerregio Amsterdam.
The initiative comes at a crucial time, as public transport prices are experiencing a significant increase. The public transport tariffs of regional carriers will rise sharply this year, by an average of 7.24 percent. The higher prices are partly caused by higher energy costs and inflation. Van der Horst expressed her hope that this program will "ease some of the financial burdens for the most severely affected group."
The Vervoerregio Amsterdam public transport system includes the city of Amsterdam and 13 other municipalities: Aalsmeer, Amstelveen, Diemen, Edam-Volendam, Haarlemmermeer, Landsmeer, Oostzaan, Ouder-Amstel, Purmerend, Uithoorn, Waterland, Wormerland, and Zaanstad. The Regional Council, the main governing body of Vervoerregio Amsterdam, has allocated 5 million euros for this scheme, which was approved with a majority vote in December 2022.
Alderman Marja Ruigrok in Haarlemmermeer, where Schiphol Airport is located, is also pleased with the initiative. In a press release, she stated, "It's wonderful that we, as a transport region, can collaborate with our transport operators during these hard times for many people."
Tickets will be available from May 8 and can easily be ordered online via the website Gratis-OV.nl starting at 10 a.m.. Eligible residents will receive information on how to obtain the cards through various organizations, including food banks, during the upcoming week.
In November 2022, Amsterdam's city council also announced plans to offer free public transportation on Saturdays to all children up to 11 years old. Older people at state pension age and with limited finances are also eligible. This scheme will not extend to transportation services during overnight hours.