On Tuesday 9 October, an article about security on tram 5 appeared in the Parool newspaper. GVB was asked for its opinion. Unfortunately, most of our comments were not included in the article. This is regrettable because it would have given the article a different slant. GVB does a great deal in terms of public safety. There is a conductor in most trams ("closed routes") that monitors public safety in addition to their role in selling tickets. There are sixteen tram routes and only three of these do not have a conductor (trams 5, 6, and 24). We call these "open routes". There are no conductors on these trams because that is technically not possible (and not because we do not want conductors on these trams)..
There is no terminal loop in Amstelveen for the trams to turn around. This means that we must have a driver's cabin at both ends of the tram and that prevents us adding a conductor's cabin. Routes 16 and 24 have an older tram type (with steps) and there is no room in the layout for a conductors cabin.
In addition to tram conductors, we also have public safety teams. Each day, they criss-cross the city carrying out checks. Most of these checks occur on the three open tram routes.
The number of incidents on the open routes is not that much greater than on the closed routes. We have noticed that the number of fare dodgers is higher on routes without conductors: 5% for route 5. It is under 3% on routes with a conductor. This is another reason that the the public safety teams perform checks more often on the open routes.
The Parool article focused on pickpocketting. GVB is not permitted to police this issue as part of its business regulations because it falls under the laws for public order. The police are the only organization that is authorized to police pickpockets.
Tram 5 is a busy route that runs from Amsterdam Central to Amstelveen. It is a route that runs by many hotels and tourist attractions, which is where many pickpockets operate. This is also the reason why the police regularly carry out checks on tram 5 in addition to the checks by GVB.
The SP political party suggested that a walking conductor will solve the problem. We do not believe this is a solution. A walking conductor on a busy route such as for tram 5 cannot serve the passengers well or even reach passengers. In addition, a tram conductor is not permitted by law to police pickpockets.
30 million tram trips
The Public Transportation Safety Team reports that 133 reports were made about loss or theft in the tram in the first quarter of this year. This number applies to the 30 million tram trips made in that same quarter. Thus, the chance of being pickpocketted on tram 5 is 0.000421%.