UPDATE – Train travel alert. See below to read about travel disruptions between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam in the weekend of Saturday, September 8 and Sunday 9.
Every year, IBC provides each attendee with a free tram pass to use throughout the show so all are able to explore the city to its full extent. The tram passes are valid from September 6-11 and can be collected from any IBC information point onsite. IBC also provides a free Shuttle Bus service from a selection of hotels to and from the RAI during each show day.
Trains to and from the Airport
If you are arriving at Schiphol Airport, you can take a train directly from Schiphol railway station, which is two stops from RAI. The railway station is underneath the terminal.
Trains to and from Amsterdam are a fast, comfortable and the most affordable method of transport. There are four trains an hour (:11, :26, :41, :56) leaving from platform 1/2 or 3, and the journey time is 10 to 11 minutes.
Should you wish to go to Amsterdam Central Station first, there will be trains leaving four or five times an hour, also from platform 1/2 or 3. There are about seven or eight trains per hour. Journey time varies according to the type of train (express or local), but will not take longer than 20 minutes. Note that trains going to Central Station do not go past the RAI (it is a different line).
You have to buy a ticket before you get on the train, either by using machines (“automats”) or from counters where available. Tickets (for RAI €2.50 Single; €4.30 First Class; for Central Station €3.70 Single; €6.30 First class) are available from vending machines in the baggage reclaim part of Schiphol airport (before customs) or at machines near the escalator to the platforms.
Machines accept credit cards, debit cards or some will also accept loose change. There are additional charges for buying at the counter (€0.50) or using a credit card (€0.50) – and only Mastercard and Visa are accepted. Don’t be confused about the “reduced tariff rates” mentioned on some machines. Unlike London, this off-peak discount is only available if you have a special card.
TRAVEL ALERT. NS (Dutch railways) has decided to carry out maintenance work on the tracks between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 2012. As a result there will be NO TRAINS between the airport and the city. Instead, travellers to the airport are being advised to take the Metro line 50 from Amsterdam RAI Railway station to the next stop Amsterdam Zuid WTC Railway station. From there, a Route Net bus 310 goes to the airport. People travelling to and from Amsterdam Central Station have to take a special shuttle bus between the airport and Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. This can add between 30 and 60 minutes to the scheduled travel time. So for IBC visitors, it is best to check out the dedicated free IBC shuttle bus services or take a taxi instead. IBC buses go directly from Schiphol to IBC and back every 15-30 minutes. During the weekend disruption of rail services there will be extra buses. Tram, bus and metro lines will run as normal.
IBC will be providing a free shuttle service between Schiphol Airport and the RAI centre. You can download the IBC Airport and Hotel shuttle schedule here.
Transport around town
Trams are the most popular and easiest way to get around Amsterdam, although at times they tend to get very crowded, especially after the show closes. They are frequent, regular and are free with your IBC 5-day travel pass, which can be collected from the IBC information points from Thursday, September 6.
The old strip of tickets system in use prior to 2009 has been discontinued and an RFID system – similar to London’s Oyster Card – introduced. There are three types of cards, of which the anonymous travel card and the one-off are of interest to visitors. If you do use this system, remember to both check-in and check-out again when you get on and off each tram or bus you take. If you don’t check out, the system charges more from your RFID ticket-card.
After the trams stop running there is a half hourly night bus service.
For more information about trams in Amsterdam, you can download an easy-to-print map (PDF) here, which lists all the hotels and trams.
For more information on how to reach the RAI complex, please have a look at the RAI website, from which you can download a brochure (in Dutch and English).
Bring bucket loads of cash if you plan to park your own car in the centre of Amsterdam. It’s around €55 a day in the centre and very strictly enforced. There is some light relief in certain zones on Sundays, but not much. Perhaps best is to park the car in one of the RAI parking garages or parking lots. More information on parking in Amsterdam can be found here.
Parking at the RAI has remained at €15.50 per day.The garage is open from 7am till midnight.
Taxis are taken from taxi ranks rather than hailed. As of April 1, 2012, a new fare structure is in place, which all licensed taxi drivers in Amsterdam must adhere to. Whereas the previous structure combined a fixed rate for the first two km of any journey, followed by a rate for each subsequent kilometre, there are now three components to consider in the price paid per journey. A taxi (with a maximum of four passengers) has a maximum start price of €2.66, the €1.95 for each kilometer or €0.32 for each minute waiting time. A typical taxi journey from the RAI into the city centre should cost around €15.
Should you need one at night, you can hail it on the street without a problem. Alternatively, you can call TCA cabs (tel: +31 20 777 7777).
Although most taxi drivers are courteous and know their way around town, this is definitely not always the case.
Taxis from the RAI are available from the taxi point located by the entrance to the exhibition by hall 11. But be prepared to wait in line.
Taxis from the centre of town to Schiphol have a fixed fee of €42 and from the airport to the RAI it should cost around €40.
You can go to www.9292.nl and get a journey planner that covers all forms of public transport in Amsterdam (in fact across the Netherlands). Mobile versions run on the iPhone and Android and can be found for free in the relevant app stores.
There is also a useful website www.wifi-amsterdam.nl/free_wifi_internet.html that guides you to free Wi-Fi spots – an essential for any traveller.