If you are going to use public transport you will need an OV-Card, in Dutch called the OV-chipkaart. With this card, it is easy to travel by bus, train, metro, tram and by public bike.
Although you can buy regular bus tickets from the bus driver and disposable OV-chip cards for trains at the station, paper tickets are almost always more expensive than using your own OV-Card.
How to get?
You can buy a personal OV-chip card online; an anonymous public transport chip card can be purchased at a public transportation service desk or at ticket machines. If you are eligible for the student travel product, you need to link your product with your personal OV-chip card. You can do this by visiting Studentenreisproduct. This product enables you to travel for free or at a discounted rate with Dutch public transport. After you have successfully linked your card, you can load your product on your chip card at a pick-up device and are ready to travel.
How to use?
When using an OV-chip card you must check in and check out. You do this upon departure (checking-in) and arrival (checking-out) by holding your OV-chip card in front of the card readers on the bus itself or at the train station. You must always check in and out, even if you are on your free travel period or changing operators! So if you are switching from a NS train to an Arriva train, check out at NS and in at Arriva. If you have forgotten to check out, you can fix this on the official website.
In order to pay with your OV-chip card (personal or anonymous), you must first top-up your card with money at ticket machines at train stations or online. To ride the bus you need at least € 4 on your chip card or € 20 to ride the train (or € 10 if you have the student travel product).
This money functions as a kind of deposit. Whenever you check-in on the bus or train, the corresponding deposit is withdrawn. Upon checking-out the deposit will be refunded and your ride billed. The deposit is a safety measure to prevent travelers from not checking out. You can calculate the cost of your travel in advance on 9292.nl by planning your journey.
Cycling is the main way of transportation in Groningen. Everything is easily accessible by bike: from your student housing to your lectures, or to the bars in the city centre. You can read more about cycling in Groningen on the website of Groningen Bereikbaar. You will also find student discounts for bikes and bike routes on there!