The NS Off-Peak Group Ticket (NS Groepsticket Daluren) is a special e-ticket from NS Dutch Railways which allows 4-7 people to travel together by train to the same destination station anywhere in the Netherlands.
The NS Group Ticket is only available online and costs €30 for 4 people with the possibility to add up to 3 more passengers for €1.50 per additional person. You cannot buy the group ticket at the station.
The ticket is valid for 2nd class travel during off-peak periods. This means you cannot travel on weekdays between 0630-0900 (morning rush-hour) and 1600-1830 (evening rush-hour). You can travel all day at weekends. The ticket is also not valid on 27 April (King’s Day).
There is a designated main ticket holder and passengers on the group ticket must travel with that person the whole way. It is possible for a passenger to get on at a later station (en-route only) to meet up with the travelling group.
The NS Group Ticket is a one-way (single) ticket and is priced as follows:
- 4 passengers €30 (€7.50 per person)
- 5 passengers €31.50 (€6.30 per person)
- 6 passengers €33 (€5.50 per person)
- 7 passengers €34.50 (€4.93 per person)
For a group this is the very cheapest way to travel long-distance on the Dutch Rail network! If you have kids remember that children 0-3 travel free and those aged 4-11 can buy a RailRunner ticket (valid all day) for €2.50. Go here for everything about Dutch rail tickets.
The lead passenger needs to book and make the full online payment. The Group ticket can be purchased here.
The booker can input all required passenger details and then download and print tickets; or an email can be sent to each passenger who can print their own tickets.
The ticket can also be loaded onto the NS Journey Planner Xtra app.
E-tickets from NS are printed in A4 format – each one is personalised with the name and date-of-birth of the traveller. You need to have some form of ID with you when you travel.
With an e-ticket you don’t need to check-in or check-out as you have to do with the OV-chip card. A growing number of stations in the Netherlands have gate barriers. Find one with the “scan ticket” symbol and hold the square barcode on the e-ticket in order to get through.
Need to make a return journey? Then just buy a second Group ticket.
Consider a standard full-fare single ticket between say Amsterdam and Maastricht costs just over €25 per person. The standard total for 7 passengers would be over €175.
So at just €34.50 for the group ticket you would be saving around €140, certainly enough to put towards a group lunch! The savings would be greater if requiring a return journey.
A party larger than 7 people could simply buy 2 (or more) group tickets as needed.
The NS off-peak single ticket was introduced in 2018 and replaced the 4-10 person group return ticket which had been running since 2013. NS had to pull the previous ticket off the market due to its more lenient rules and the perceived fraudulent use. People were forming groups on social media and were using “hidden city” techniques to travel short of the final destination.
The new NS Group Ticket is also open to international visitors as NS now accepts credit card payments on its site. Beforehand one needed Dutch internet banking (iDeal) to pay for the ticket.
For visitors making long domestic journeys on Dutch trains, the NS off-peak Group Ticket can certainly save a significant sum.