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I am trying to evaluate if it is worth taking a cab from Schiphol to Centraal station (hotel is nearby station). The luggage is nudging me in the direction of a cab, however, public transportation is a very attractive option because it is fast and generally less expensive than a taxi.

What should I expect:

  1. Is public transportation with two large rolling suitcases impractical on the train?

  2. Do I need to buy the equivalent of a NYC Metrocard to use public transportation?

  3. Are there other options I should consider?

  • I have removed the cost-comparison aspect of the question which, again, depends on your budget, and any taxi quotation you get will be out of date in twelve months. – JoErNanO Jun 5 at 16:31
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The suitcases certainly won't be a problem on the train. The train station at Schiphol is directly underneath the main hall and easily accessible with luggage. Local trains to Amsterdam Centraal run very frequently (see https://www.ns.nl/ for details) and have plenty of room for luggage.

The train is €4.50 one way per person and it takes about 15 minutes. I don't have much of an idea about the cost of a cab, but it'll certainly be upwards of €20 and much slower than the train.

You can buy the anonymous OV-chipkaart for €7.50 (per person), top it up at the machines and then just use it to pay as you go. It works on all the public transport in the Netherlands. You can also buy single disposable tickets, but those cost €1 extra per trip, which will quickly add up.

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    Besides an OV-chipkaart and the (surcharged) disposable tickets, you could also consider one of the passes if you're staying in Amsterdam and will be riding public transport a lot. The Amsterdam Travel Ticket (which includes trains to/from Schipol) might make sense in some cases, but it also could be a bad value depending on your travel plans. – Zach Lipton Jun 4 at 22:28
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    One other quick note with the OV-chipkaart: you need to have the €20 minimum on your card to travel (or the ticket validators will beep at you and give you an error in Dutch that you won't understand, as I found out a couple months ago). You can get a refund of any remaining balance (but not the €7.50 card fee) at the staffed ticket counters in the airport before you leave. – Zach Lipton Jun 4 at 22:31
  • @ZachLipton That minimum only applies when travelling on trains. For travel on busses, subways and trams, the minimum is much lower (is there even a minimum? Yesterday the Amsterdam subway didn't mind me checking in with about a Euro left on my card, resulting in a negative balance when checking out) – Abigail Jun 5 at 12:18
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    As we are talking about 2 people, we also have to talk about 2 OV chip cards. If you can buy your tickets online you will pay the same as if you had an OV chip card but do not need to pay any extra nor have extra on your card. You will either need to print or have a suitable app. – Willeke Jun 5 at 16:47

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