When I lived in the UK, I used Arriva buses a lot. Arriva is one of the main bus companies here in the Netherlands as well and I use their buses most weeks and used to occasionally pay for my tickets with cash. That’s no longer an option. I live in North Brabant and the buses stopped accepting cash at the beginning of the month. Now it’s only possible to buy a ticket using a credit or debit card. The only other option is to use an OV Chipcard and non-residents are unlikely to have one. It is possible to buy anonymous and disposable OV Chipcards, but in my experience using an OV chipcard on the bus can work out more expensive than buying a day ticket. Here in North Brabant, a day ticket only costs €6 and it covers you for a full day of travel in the region. I only use my OV Chipcard on the train and, occasionally, on the trams when I visit Den Haag.
Up until the beginning of the month, it used to be possible to hop on Arriva buses and chose to pay for a single journey (€3.75), or a day ticket, using cash and the driver would stamp the date onto a ticket and hand it to you. Now you place your card near the reader and the printer provides you with your ticket and receipt. I don’t mind paying by card, but I can’t help but wonder if the change to a pin reader instead of cash will cause problems for international travellers. I’ve never tried to use a British credit/debit card on an Arriva bus in the Netherlands, but when I was living in Enschede, I went to the Albert Heijn supermarket and discovered their system would not accept any of my British cards. I’ve had no problems using a British card anywhere else, so it could be a problem that only exists with Albert Heijn, and I have Dutch bank cards now so I’ve never tried to use a British card on the bus. However, Arriva’s move away from cash is bound to make the cost of travel slightly more expensive for non-European travellers because their bank or credit card provider will add a foreign currency fee and fees like that, though generally less than £1 per transaction, can add up pretty fast.
I did a little research and discovered Arriva has been planning this move since April 2016. The lack of cash in the bus will make it safer for the drivers and, if I understand things correctly, a similar move is planned for the buses in other regions as well.
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