Train conductors concerned about rising aggression caused by Covid rules
More than half of the train conductors in the Netherlands recently experienced aggression from passengers, they said in a survey conducted by NU.nl. Incidents were commonly linked to the enforcement of coronavirus measures on trains.
"My job has not become more fun. You're correcting the whole day," said a conductor to the newspaper. "A lot of colleagues also don't walk through the train anymore, but stay in the cabin. Then the safety in the train decreases. People then start to abuse the situation."
Another conductor said that there are now more incidents of sexual harassment against women on the trains. He explained it was due to people who feel "free as a bird" when conductors don’t walk through the train.
National railway NS does not oblige conductors to do these walk throughs. "We want them to be visible and approachable for passengers, but it can be busy on the train or a situation can arise that does not give a pleasant feeling. Then it is up to the conductor's own professional assessment. Safety is always our top priority."
Only a quarter of the conductors said they reported aggressive behavior to their superiors. Ike Wiersinga, director of labor union CNV, called this remarkable. "Because the poll shows that there are many more incidents. They are therefore not reported and remain under the radar."
NS also emphasized the importance of reporting aggressive behavior. "We work in an information-driven way in our approach," a spokesperson explained to NU.nl. "We deploy people in places where they are needed. That is why reports are so important."
"We are also installing more and more gates at stations, which prevents fare evasion, but also camera surveillance. And we have invested in extra service and security personnel," the spokesperson for NS stated. "We want our employees to be able to do their job safely and every incident is one too many for us."