Annoying Amsterdam “tram” Schedule

Mar 17, 2009 1:17 AM

by binsar

I always think that there is one thing that could surely annoy Dutch people. If you want to deliberately upset Dutch people, all you have to do is to “coming late at an appointment.” Yes, they are quite uptight with time and appointment. I learned a lot from it.

But I am also annoyed about the unreliability of the public transport in Amsterdam. The problem starts when you start to act like a real Dutch in terms of trusting the system to work. There is this website that supposed to help everyone who wants to use Dutch transportation system. The helps everyone by showing the means of transport from one place to another, including the arrival time estimation. This is a great site that really helps a lot if you don’t know how to get to a place in the Netherlands. However, I would suggest that you should not trust the site 100% if you are living in Amsterdam.

I have been living in Uilenstede, Amstelveen (just at the border of Amsterdam) for almost 3 years in total now. One thing that I’ve learned for sure, you cannot rely on the tram schedule. Trams are mostly late, and if you missed one, the next one will only come in 10-15 minutes. They rarely meet their own schedule as mentioned at tram stops. There could be a breakdown somewhere along the tramline, and there will be no notification about it, and we are left to ponder if the tram will ever show up or not.

The ‘not ontime’ public transportation (in my case, the tram) influences my other means of transportation: train and bus. If the tram is late, I will never catch the train on time, because the train has a different schedule. If you are trying to get to another city from Amsterdam, using the, which involves the tram and train, then the best way to do it is to come to the tram stop 10 minutes earlier.

Train schedule is more reliable than tram, but I do not fully trust them during weekends and winter. I once tried to get to Den Haag HS by train from Amsterdam Zuid on a Sunday. The train to Schiphol was 10 minutes late, which caused me losing the connection at the airport. Then I waited 15 minutes and got on the next train to Leiden and had to change there too. But the train was again 15 minutes late at Leiden. Thus, in total I lost 45 minutes and barely made it in time for the service in GKIN Den Haag. This is just one bitter experience among others.

Now, I don’t know if I should believe the system (as suggested in or trust my own feeling about the public transportation schedule in Amsterdam. The only reliable means of transport is my loyal bike!

I came from Jakarta and I know that the public transportation there sucks big time. But in Jakarta you know what to expect. You know that nothing is as schedule, thus you always have to go by your gut. If you missed a bus, you never know when the next one is going to come, but the uncertainty is definite. Here in Amsterdam, the definite schedule is uncertain. What would you prefer then?

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