Travellers with the NS can now send a WhatsApp text for safety issues on a train

Dutch Railways are trialling a scheme where travellers can send a WhatsApp if they feel unsafe or experience nuisance on the train.

Travellers are often confronted with threatening or annoying situations such as drunk heckles or disruptive noise. Many of these situations are exacerbated if the perpetrator sees a conductor being alerted. However, if a WhatsApp message could notify security anonymously and discreetly, this opens up another avenue for help.

One young interviewed about the scheme commented “It is difficult for you to walk to a conductor to complain if someone in your carriage misbehaves. Because the perpetrator sees that too and then you just have to wait and see what he does. With such a whatsapp you can get help safely call in. Great.”

Where is the text being sent?

The WhatsApp text is sent to a general safety centre run by NS. Once received, employees assess the threat level and determine who should be deployed to handle the issue – the security or the police?

The test is currently only being piloted on the Dordrecht-Arnhem route (for anyone not familiar with the Netherlands Dordrecht is close to Rotterdam and Arnhem is one hour east). The WhatsApp scheme can also be used at the stations of Eindhoven, Breda and Tilburg. More routes will be added to the project as time goes on if the scheme is proved useful and successful.

A dutch classic 🙂

Can this scheme replace the need for a scary 112 call?!

No. Please let common sense prevail. Anita Middelkoop, spokesperson for NS said “Of course you still have to call 112 immediately in real emergencies such as someone who has a heart attack or something like that.. but if it is not an emergency, we really try to deliver tailor-made solutions.”

Is this a good idea? What do you think? 

Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


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