The public transport system in Rotterdam is very well organized. All metro, tram and metropolitan bus lines are operated by RET. You need an OV-Chipkaart (“Public Transport chip card”).
The Rotterdam Welcome Card provides unlimited use of all RET public transport for 1, 2 or 3 days, and 25% or better discounts on 50+ attractions, museums, restaurants and more. See the website for further information on conditions and locations to get the card (www.rotterdamwelcomecard.com). If you don’t need the discounts, the 1, 2 or 3 day passes are also available from RET ticket machines available in all metro stations for (slightly) cheaper prices.
If you are planning to travel with other transportation companies than RET (i.e. outside Rotterdam), especially more than one or two times, then the most convenient card is the anonymous OV-Chipkaart. You can purchase an anonymous OV-Chipkaart for € 7.50 from ticket offices (only in selected stations) and from ticket machines available in all metro stations. The amount is for the card alone, to travel with an OV-chipkaart, you must first credit your card with a travel product and/or balance. This can be done at ticket machines. The anonymous OV-Chipkaart is valid for a minimum of 4 years up until 5 years.
When traveling, remember to check in and out, especially when you transfer from any one form of transport to another. A small army of inspectors swoops down occasionally to make sure everyone has a valid check in.
By metro: There are five metro lines operated by RET. Lines A (green), B (yellow) and C (red), formerly known as Calandlijn, share tracks between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug and offer an east-west connection. Lines D (light blue, formerly known as Erasmuslijn) and E (blue, also known as RandstadRail) share tracks between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge and offer a north-south connection. Interchange between all lines is possible on Beurs station in the city center.
Lines A, B and C operate every 10 minutes, which allows 3-4 minute intervals on the main section between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug. Lines D and E operate every 10 minutes, which give shorter intervals between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge. There is a more frequent service during rush hours. The Rotterdam Metro operates from 5:30 am until midnight. Here is a map of the Rotterdam Metro: https://www.ret.nl/fileadmin/user_upload/Documenten/PDF/Kaarten_en_plattegronden/RET_metrolijnenkaart.pdf
By Tram: RET operates eight (8) tram lines. All tram lines (except line 2) will stop at Rotterdam Centraal. Tram stops provide a detailed map of the public transport system. All lines operate every 10 minutes with more frequent service during rush hours on some lines. Each tram has a conductor. Here is a map of Rotterdam’s tram lines:
By bus: Multiple companies operate buses in Rotterdam: RET, Arriva, and Connexxion. These companies share some of the bus stops, but the route numbers are not interchangeable. RET is the larger operator in the metropolitan area itself, while ARRIVA and Connexxion service areas outside the metropolitan area. Use the front door when boarding a bus. RET also operates a night bus service (BOB-bus) on Friday and Saturday nights.
WaterBus: provides connections between Rotterdam and the Drechtsteden (Dordrecht and surrounding cities).
Aqualiner: Once started as a fast ferry connection between Heijplaat on the south bank and the city center, the Aqualiner now also offers fast connections to Katendrecht and Lloydkwartier. Single tickets are sold on board (cash only). The OV-chipkaart is not valid.
If you do need a taxi, you will have to find yourself a taxi rank or call Rotterdamse Taxi Centrale RTC N.V. (which is the city’s major taxi service). Call them for the latest rates: +31 (010) 462 6060
Rotterdam was built on a number of islands and if you want to travel from shore to shore, the nicest way to go is to take the Water Taxi. This speedboat will escort you over the Maas. They have more than 250 landing stages. See Watertaxi Rotterdam’s website for details: www.watertaxirotterdam.nl
A Thai-influenced transportation service using three-wheeled, open-air (but covered) motorized vehicles called Tuk Tuk. There was a time where you could hail the Tuk Tuks at the streets everywhere in Rotterdam but today this is only possible in the Overschie district. The good thing is that these Tuk Tuks are for free but unfortunately they won’t leave the Overschie district. If you would like to use the Tuk Tuk in another part of Rotterdam you need to order one (by calling +31 088 885 0885). .The Tuk Tuk will tour you for a fixed price through Rotterdam along all the tourist sides such as the Old Harbour, the Erasmus bridge, the Cube houses and the New Luxor theatre. The minimal rental time is one hour but the comfortable Tuk Tuks have got enough room to carry 3 people, or even 6 people.