NS conductors are powerless on overcrowded trains: ‘He didn’t hear us at all’ right now

NS conductors are powerless on overcrowded trains: 'He didn't hear us at all' right now

NS conductors bear the heavy workload caused by the constant shortage of personnel in the rail operator. This is at the expense of job satisfaction and work-life balance. Two top conductors tell NU.nl about their experience. They do this anonymously, otherwise they are afraid of getting into trouble with the employer.

“Work is less fun”

run out (Not his real name): “The trains are currently so crowded that it is often not possible to get on the train. As a result, in many cases, I cannot do my job properly. Travelers easily get angry and frustrated. Negative impact on atmosphere and social safety “.

“On the one hand, people understand us, because we are also trying to do our job. On the other hand, no one wants to stand for a long time on a very crowded train. Moreover, many travelers have had to adjust their travel schedule between their home and work. Because there are fewer trains” .

“The workload is now so high that it has a negative impact on the work atmosphere. The staff shortage has put pressure on our roster. Sometimes there is little free time between work days. This is not good for the work-private balance.” NS says it is You find it very important.”

“We have very little influence on the situation.”

“I also get the impression that many colleagues are over-motivated. I hear many colleagues who plan to work fewer hours. I think about this myself too.”

“I and many of my colleagues continue to report issues internally. But as capable employees we have little influence on the situation. And that is the most frustrating thing. Other departments make decisions and choices. NS is already aware of the issues and thinks it’s very annoying too, but I think it needs more. So “.

“NS is a great company and a good employer. Before the current problems arose, I really enjoyed my job. Now it’s less fun.”

What happens in NS?

  • NS has been struggling with a huge shortage of connectors for a long time.
  • So the company operates with fewer and shorter trains than usual.
  • As a result, the running trains are sometimes crowded.
  • Meanwhile, the National Assembly is finding it difficult to fill vacancies.
  • The House of Representatives said last week that there is a lack of creativity in solving problems.

Travelers try to get a seat on a full train during the morning rush hour on October 11th at Utrecht Central Station.

Travelers try to get a seat on a full train during the morning rush hour on October 11th at Utrecht Central Station.

Travelers try to get a seat on a full train during the morning rush hour on October 11th at Utrecht Central Station.

picture: AP

We move people like sardines in a can.

Mikhail (Not his real name): “At the moment, the work is almost done. But the workload is high and you are constantly under pressure. For example, chatting with someone is becoming less and less successful. The aggression against us is also increasing. Verbally and physically. .”

“We encounter crowds on the train every day. There is an app where we can report if the train is too busy. But even after a year where you have to transport people like sardines in a can, nothing has been done about it.”

“The time between two trips is getting shorter as well. Going to the toilet or having a cup of tea has to be done quickly and quickly. There is also less time to agree with colleagues about who is doing what. And to communicate with a driver over a walkie-talkie. All this makes it difficult.”

“I don’t feel heard at all”

“I also feel a lot less safe on the train. Especially now that big conductors are no longer allowed to be a rattlesnake. That’s how we feel about the brutality.”

“But you shouldn’t think that you can change anything. NS is a stressful organization. A huge gap has arisen between the people sitting in the office and us on the train. I don’t feel like the old people can hear me at all. In the council they have no idea what pressure we are under.”

“So, yeah, work is so much fun. You come all over the place, you see a lot and you experience a lot. Just the offense is going to miss me. Sometimes you have a late shift on Mondays and Tuesdays, which can end around 2am. Then you have a day off and then you can get On three early shifts, where you can even start at 5.00 am.


  • The real names of Peter and Michael are known to the editors.
  • The connector pictured above this article is not one of the connectors we talked about.

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