Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB) is the public transit operator in Amsterdam. GVB is a private corporation wholly owned by the city of Amsterdam. It operates tram, metro, bus, and ferry services.
The tram system forms the primary backbone to the city’s transit network. As of 2015, there are 15 lines, 216 trams in the fleet, and 120 miles of track.
The Metro consists of three heavy rail lines and one light rail (sneltram) line. The first line opened in 1977, with the most recent extension opening in 1997. As of 2015, there are 52 stations along 25 miles of track. One additional line is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2017.
Buses play a fairly minimal role in the city’s transit network, filling in where tram service is not available. There are about 33 bus routes operating throughout the city.
The Type 8G trams were ordered in 1974. Although these trams remained in service for 29 years until 2003, they were beset by a variety of technical issues throughout their careers. One Type 8G tram, formerly number 767, was repurposed as a "Red Cross Tram" following its removal from regular service. A wheelchair lift was installed on board the tram and it now gives sightseeing tours for the handicapped and elderly in conjunction with the Dutch Red Cross.
The Type 11G trams were delivered in 1989 and 1990. They are double ended trams with doors on both sides, high floor ends, and a low floor center section. Because they are double ended, they are almost always found on Line 5 because there is no turning loop at that line's Amstelveen terminal.
Amsterdam operates 155 Siemens Combino trams, more than any other city in the world. Like the majority of Amsterdam trams, 151 of the Combinos are single ended trams with doors only on the right side of each car. However, there are 4 cars that are double ended with doors on both sides for operation on Line 5.
The Amsterdam Metro first opened in 1977 after seven years of construction. New lines and extensions were opened in 1990 and 1997. Today, the Amsterdam Metro has four lines serving 52 stations with an additional line under construction. Due to Amsterdam's high water table, construction has been difficult, and this is proving to be the case with the line currently under construction.
The system is a mix of heavy rail and light rail operations. Line 51 from Centraal Station to Westwijk shares tracks with tram line 5 on the southern part of its run. It is referred to as a "sneltram" meaning fast tram, and has rolling stock that is able to change from third rail to overhead catenary as its power source (similar to the MBTA Blue Line in Boston). The power change occurs at the Zuid station. Platforms along the shared track are both high level and low level to accommodate the different types of trains running on that line.
There are several types of rolling stock. The Series M1, M2, and M3 are heavy rail units manufactured by LHB that are in married pairs and operate on lines 50, 53 and 54. As of 2015, these cars are being phased out. The Series M4 is heavy rail stock manufactured by CAF that operates on Line 50. The Series M5, built by Alstom, was built to replace the M1, M2, and M3 classes and to provide rolling stock for Line 52 when it opens. Line 51 has its own rolling stock that is able to operate on both heavy rail and light rail operation. The Series S1 and S2 were built by La Brugeoise. The Series S3 was built by CAF and are essentially identical to the M4 units, except they are able to operate on the light rail sections as well.