Sharp drop in attacks on public transport staff over the past 10 years

Photo: Oxyman via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Oxyman via Wikimedia Commons

Despite a perceived rise in attacks on public transport sector staff, the actual number of incidents has gone down sharply since 2005, according to research by broadcaster RTL.

The broadcaster collated figures from railway firm NS and bus and tram companies nationwide and found an across-the-board drop in threats and physical attacks.

For example, in 2005, NS officials reported 1,099 threats, spitting incidents and physical attacks, but only 652 in 2015. Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB reported a drop of more than 50%, from 253 in 2006 to 199 last year.


A similar pattern was seen in other cities and on regional public transport providers, RTL said.

VU University professor Ronald van Steden said the measures which public transport firms have taken to reduce attacks on staff are likely to have played a role. For example, bus and tram companies have installed security cameras and staff have been taught to deal with violent confrontations.

By focusing more attention on the times and places where the attacks take place, the total can be brought down still further, Van Steden said.

The transport and justice ministries have already said they new measures to further boost public transport safety will be put in place in the autumn. These include more lighting and making stations easier for emergency services staff to get to.

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