Criminal incidents on public transportation increasing

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A task force has given no clear reason for the strong growth in violence, robberies, verbal abuse and vandalism on buses and trams.

Amsterdam – Criminal incidents on city and regional public transportation has increased strongly over the past three years, reports and Spits! Thursday.

In 2007, Arriva, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia reported a total 3,869 incidents, including violence, threats, robberies, serious nuisance and vandalism. In 2008 that number increased to 4,711.

The carriers expect to report 6,699 incidents in 2009, a 42 percent increase from 2008.

That comes from a still undisclosed report by the taskforce for safer public transport (TVOV) obtained by Spits!, a free weekday newspaper.

The task force put special emphasis on bus violence.

“The percentage of criminal incidents mainly take place on the bus,” it noted in the report. “The overall increase is mainly caused by an increase in serious incidents in which aggressive behaviour is involved.”

Most incidents occur during the afternoon and evenings, and during night transportation in the weekends.

According to the task force report, drivers, conductors and supervisors in the Randstad (the area between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht) are faced with more aggression than colleagues in other provinces. However, in 2008 the difference had decreased.

Media reports did not specify whether most of the incidents were directed against transportation personnel or against other passengers.

The taskforce, which includes representatives from the transport companies, unions, police, the public ministry, provinces, municipalities and the ministries of internal affairs and transport, announced in a second document a package of sixteen measures to make public transport safer.

The package includes measures such as travel bans, closed circuit television, better co-ordination with police, stiffer punishments and aggression courses for offenders.


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