Dutch public transport company, GVB, has launched the first 40,000 chip cards which are eventually to replace the strippenkaart tickets on Amsterdam buses, trams, trains and metro. This summer 30.000 public transport pass holders and 10,000 former GVB employees are to test out the new OV-chipkaarts, which initially will only be usable on the metro. The new cards will be on sale for general use on the metro some time in autumn, and by 2007 the appropriate machines for reading the chip cards will be installed on buses and trams as well. The OV-chipkaart is an electronic payment method and ticket in one. Similar to a pre-paid bankcard, it contains a chip which can be topped up with euros or travel products from a one-way journey to a season ticket. Through a partnership operation involving the five largest Dutch transport groups: NS, RET, HTM, Connexxion and GVB, the new card will eventually be used throughout the Netherlands on all types of transport including ferries and trains. The strippenkaart should be phased out completely by 2009.
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