Rotterdam’s bus network connects all parts of the city. As a result, the accessibility of the city centre and surrounding boroughs is optimal. Between 5:30 and 00:30 the buses of the Rotterdam Electric Tram (RET) run. From 1:00 to 6:00, the BOB buses are also known as the night buses.
With 57 lines, Rotterdam has an extensive bus network for in and around the city. This number does not include the night lines. RET is the operator and has approximately 185 buses at its disposal for the operation of the city bus network. RET buses run in the municipality of Rotterdam. The other municipalities where RET buses run are Albrandswaard, Barendrecht, Capelle aan den IJssel, Delft, Dordrecht, Krimpen aan den IJssel, Lansingerland, Maassluis, Midden-Delfland, Pijnacker, Ridderkerk and Schiedam.
The different buses
The 6-4-2 Bus, also called a frequent bus, runs 6 times an hour during rush hour. In the off-peak hours this is 4 times an hour and in the quiet hours 2 times an hour. Besides the frequent buses, there are also so-called convenience buses. These buses drive less often, and sometimes not all day or type of day. There is also an express bus network including a school bus), it is good to know that these buses do not stop at all stops on the route. The convenience buses are also geared to school and working hours. There is also a STOPenGO, two local buses and an express bus. For the environmentally-conscious voyager, it will sound like music to their ears that RET invested last December in 55 electric buses and 103 buses that can run both electrically and with an auxiliary engine, these are the hybrid buses. With this, the RET has kicked off the ‘green driving’. The route to emission-free driving has thus been set in motion.
Arriva and Connexxion buses can reach the various destinations around Rotterdam from Central Station. If you would like to buy a separate ticket for the bus, please visit the website 9292.nl for the correct information.
In general, it is still possible to buy a separate ticket from the bus driver, although this often differs from the OV-chipkaart fare. Another side effect is that it is no longer possible to pay everywhere with cash. Fares for separate tickets can be found in the travel planner on the website 9292.nl.
For your journey by bus, you will need valid proof of transport. Most travellers choose the OV Chipkaart. This chip card can be purchased in your local shop or can be requested online via the internet. Charging an OV-Chipkaart can be done in the shop or online. An upgradeable OV-Chipkaart costs € 7.50. Children younger than 4 years old can travel for free. Attractive discounts apply to over-65s and groups.
Discounts for children and over 65s can be settled if you travel with a personal OV-chipkaart on balance. This discount applies to the basic fare and boarding rate.
The anonymous OV-chipkaart is suitable for the traveller who occasionally plans to travel. The duration of the trip is two hours with the anonymous OV chip card where you have access to all RET public transport. The card can be used to travel by bus, tram and metro. The price is Euro 4.50. The other OV chip card is the personal version that can be purchased by residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The name, photo and date of birth of the holder are mentioned on this card. The OV-chipkaart can be purchased from RET, Connexxion and Arriva. Websites such as 9292.nl and RET.nl provide more information about the OV-chipkaart and its use, always good to know before you start your bus trip.
Very handy is the balance checker with which you can check the balance on your OV-chipkaart online. By automatically loading your personal OV-chipkaart you prevent situations where there is no balance on your chip.
With automatic recharging, the balance on a personal OV-chipkaart below € 0.00 can be transferred from your bank account. The minimum amount is € 10.00 while you can choose between € 20 or € 50.00. On the website 9292.nl, you can directly transfer the balance from your bank account to your OV-chipkaart.
When checking in or out the OV-chip card is automatically upgraded. This happens if you do not have enough balance to pay the boarding fee. Checking in is normally possible even if there is little or no balance on the OV chip card.
Charging is done by holding the card against a pole or gate. As a customer, you have the possibility to pay back this amount in advance afterwards.
Checking in includes checking out.- The journey starts by checking in. At the end of the journey and also when changing trains another check-in is necessary so that the card reader can calculate what a journey has a cost and what discounts are included. This will be deducted from the balance on the OV-chipkaart.
Checking in is mandatory and there is a risk of a fine of at least € 54.00 for not (properly) checking in.
OVMiles is an initiative of RET that offers travellers the opportunity to save for interesting discounts with their OV-chipkaart. Members of OV-Miles only save when checking in and out of their journey. OVMiles rewards travellers for the kilometres they travel on public transport. The registration procedure is done online with the OV chip card so that you immediately save OVMiles for travel on public transport within the RET transport area.
Only 1 person can travel with an OV-Chipkaart. This means that with multiple travellers, a separate card is needed for everyone. There is a surcharge of € 1 for the use of a single OV-Chipkaart.
Boarding and basic fare
You avoid paying the full boarding fee by checking out. For passengers travelling on balance, a boarding fare will be debited from the balance at check-in. At check-out, however, the boarding fare will be refunded and the kilometres travelled will be charged. If there is no check-out, the passenger will, therefore, pay the full boarding fare.
You can only travel if you have sufficient balance on your card. In case of a negative balance on your card, you cannot travel. The balance can be purchased online. With automatic recharging, you save time and effort.
Travel with barcode
The RET Barcode App is an alternative for those who do not have an OV-chipkaart. It makes it easy to buy a mobile ticket for the bus via your phone. With the barcode, you can check-in and out of the bus. Showing the ticket on your mobile to the driver or conductor is sufficient. The current rate for the RET barcode is € 8.50 per day.
RET real-time app
Travellers by tram can travel more efficiently via a new travel app. With this app, a route can be mapped out in detail. You can use your mobile phone to find out where to change trains and what the travel time is.
The app also shows departure times for all bus, tram and metro lines throughout the Netherlands. With a My RET account, you can immediately see in the app and on the RET website what time the next vehicle departs from the bus stop of your choice. All relevant information about the journey, such as the nearest stop, is based on GPS location. This app provides an overview of all RET vehicles driving in your area in real-time. This real-time app also gives you an overview of the many transfer possibilities.
Tourist in Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Welcome card 2020 for 3 days allows tourists to travel on RET buses, trams and metros for three days for a fixed fee. This is ideal for those who plan to travel a little more and want to make advantageous use of these transport services. The 3-day card is also practical when you do not have a public transport chip card, you do not have it with you or when it has expired. For tourists and day-trippers, this is a very handy travel tool.
The price of Rotterdam Welcome Card is € 23,50 for 3 days. For 2 days it will cost € 18,50 and for 1 day you pay € 12,50. This ticket is not valid with other carriers such as the NS. In addition, you earn at least 25% discount on museums, stages and the biggest top attractions in Rotterdam. And you also get an extra discount at the nicest cafes and restaurants. Not valid on BOB busses
Just like the disposable OV chip card, the Rotterdam Welcome Card is a separate disposable chip card with which you have to check-in and check out. This applies to every bus. Not checking in will result in a possible fine, because you are not travelling with a valid ticket… After the 3 days have elapsed you may throw away this card.
The night bus for the weekend, Friday night and Saturday night is called BOB bus. This card is therefore not valid on BOB busses but with the RET BOB bus card, people who want to enjoy the nightlife and late travellers can travel in the Rotterdam region with the BOB bus during the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday between 01:00 hrs and 05:00 hrs. After stamping, this card is valid for 90 minutes in the BOB buses. It is allowed to switch to other BOB buses during the validity period of your paper ticket. For the OV-chipkaart the BOB-buskaart is a good alternative if you do not have an OV-chipkaart. With the Bob-bus you travel from Rotterdam Central Station to different (part of) the Rotterdam region. The RET- BOB-bus card costs €6.