comments 2

The train is a vehicle for transport, not a warzone

It seems like there is a war going on these days within the Dutch trains. Almost every week the news reports on a new case of a physically abused ticket inspector. The reason for travelers acting this way is for reasons so unwarranted that it just angers me, because mostly it occurs due to people not having paid for their ticket and they receive a fine. You’re probably thinking the same as I am, as in ‘You didn’t pay for a ticket, so suffer the consequences’. It’s not like the Royal Dutch Train system offers its services for free, no, they provide a service that you can make use of after paying a specific contribution in money. They have to use this money to repair the trains, pay the staff and maintain the railroads, not to mention company expansion. The people that miraculously think they are above this system, and don’t have to pay for this, have no right at all to physically assault someone. On top of that, I don’t even believe physically assaulting someone is a good reason for anything other than defending yourself against another person.

Yes I get it you’re angry that you have to pay a fine, or you’re angry that the prices are too high, but abusing someone as a result of that to solve your problem? Not a good idea. The ticket inspector has a life of its own as well, a family to come home to. They perform their work so they can feed their family and pay the bills, enjoying keeping the trains organized and equal for everyone. When they come home with a broken jaw, black eyes, and lacerations, will they ever enjoy their job again, let alone feel safe on a train?

The main problem is that the Dutch government is not responding to this occurrence, even when it happens repeatedly every week. The news already lost its interest in reporting on the cases since it’s not sensational anymore, it becomes a habit. Can you even believe this? I truly believe this problem can be solved easily with a few classes in self defense, and providing some sort of self defense weapon for ticket inspectors. This could be a nightstick or even a tazer in the more dangerous cities. Also I think there should be more railway police inspecting tickets during rush our and the later hours at night, as they carry handcuffs and a firearm. Right now, their hours are pretty random, I’ve sometimes encountered railway police inspecting my ticket during some random afternoon hour around 3 p.m but not often.

We cannot let people that believe they are above the law to rule and dominate the innocent. The train needs to be a safe means of transport for anyone. That is why the Dutch rail system needs to protect itself and its employees more effectively. The farther they let themselves be pushed into a corner like this, the more people will start to prefer other means of safer transportation, resulting in lower income and less trains being active. Is this what they want? Criminals that are able to slowly reduce a great company to rubble? I hope not, so I really hope the Dutch government will intervene quickly and put a stop to this absurd rise of criminal activity.

2 Comments

  1. Public transportation IS damn expensive here. But it is most certainly NOT the conductor’s fault. So yeah, don’t shoot the piano player, he didn’t write the music. I am not sure about the tazers though, they might only aggravate the problem. Cheaper tickets?

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  2. I agree the tickets are expensive, but reducing the costs would only send a message that with enough violence against personnel one could force their will upon them. I believe before they would do that, safety needs to be re-established and guaranteed. If a more forceful appearance is needed for conductors, then so be it. Some cases in the recent weeks were so severe which is why I wrote that tazers would be a viable option. Not necessarily to use them, but to prevent physical abuse in advance by scaring them. One option would be to let conductors go in pairs and not split up anymore, as they usually do now when they split between two cars.

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