Dutch train passengers sent 2,500 requests for help since launch of WhatsApp number

Over the past year, the NS has received close to 2,500 reports by passengers of nuisance on trains. The NS took action in about half of the cases, with warnings or arrests being made

Last year, the NS made the number 06-13181318 available for travellers who feel unsafe or experience nuisance on trains to report their experiences. In that time, 2,500 reports of passengers feeling bothered or unsafe were made, the NOS reports.

This new system has been received positively by travellers because it’s subtle and effective. Imagine how awkward it would be having to approach the conductor while the person making you feel uncomfortable is right there in the carriage with you….

How does this system work?

The reports are received by the railway’s safety centre. When a complaint is received from a passenger on a train, they are immediately sent an answer via WhatsApp. The safety centre then decides whether action needs to be taken.

According to Eelco van Asch, a member of the executive board of the NS, “the chief conductor can act immediately. In addition, people from the Safety and Service department of the NS and possibly the police can be called in.”

What have people reported?

The majority of the 2,485 reports involved people breaking the house rules on the train. In second place were messages were about harassment of passengers or disagreements. Many instances of begging on trains were also reported.

Last, and certainly not least, 26 reports were made about people violating the coronavirus measures, for example by not wearing a face mask.

A greater need during coronavirus

Van Asch says that “because of coronavirus, the need for the alert was extra great.” With fewer travellers “stations and trains were quieter.” This can sometimes be unpleasant. As a result, this was the perfect time to introduce the alert.  

Have you ever experienced a nuisance on a train? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Mauvries/Depositphotos

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.

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