Unions criticise policy on train fines

2nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Trade unions have criticised the tough policy that forces conductors to fine passengers for travelling without a ticket, regardless of the circumstances.

2 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — Trade unions have criticised the tough policy that forces conductors to fine passengers for travelling without a ticket, regardless of the circumstances.

The FNV Bondgenoten union and conductors organisation VVMC said train staff should have more freedom to decide whether a passenger should be fined or not.

"Conductors have to walk around with their souls under their arms," FNV official Roel Berghuis told Radio 1 on Tuesday. The zero tolerance rules were introduced by Dutch Rail NS to cut down on the number of people travelling without a ticket. Now passengers have to purchase their ticket in advance. Arguing that the ticket machine was broken is no longer an acceptable defence.

The unions said the administration work caused by the fines is such a major headache that many conductors "would rather walk about from the misery" Berghuis said.

If the person caught without a ticket cannot produce identification, the conductor must hand the offender over to the Rail Police. But Rail Police officers are not present at many smaller stations.

NS said it recognised this is a problem and has plans to out its own security personnel on trains. But the rail company said its policy on fining passengers for not having the appropriate tickets is very necessary. The policy will be evaluated in October.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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