Is Amsterdam's Tram 5 a haven for black riders and pickpockets?

Tram 5 in Amsterdam is a busy route which runs between Central Station and Amstelveen, passing many hotels and tourist attractions along the way, and as such is a popular target for pickpockets. In fact, Het Parool reports that 44 percent of all thefts on trams occur on Tram 5.

However, public transportation provider GVB notes that while 133 thefts or losses were reported on Tram 5 during the first quarter of this year, a total of 30 million tram trips were made in that same quarter, meaning that the chance of being pickpocketed on Tram 5 is just 0,000421 percent.

Why is pickpocketing so popular on Amsterdam's Tram 5? Aside from having a large proportion of tourists as passengers, Tram 5 is one of the three out of 16 tram lines in Amsterdam that does not have a conductor (along with Trams 6 and 24). These particular trams have no conductors because it's not technically possible to accommodate conductors' cabins in them.

To combat pickpocketing (and "black riding"), Amsterdam's Socialist Party is demanding to see walking conductors added to Tram 5, and the PvdA and D66 are not opposed to the idea.

However, GVB disagrees with the approach, since tram conductors have no legal authority to police pickpockets, and fare dodging is not much more common on trams without conductors (5 percent vs. 3 percent on trams with conductors).

GVB does have "public safety" teams which criss-cross the city carrying out checks, and most of these checks occur on the three conductor-free tram routes. Furthermore, the police also regularly carry out checks on Tram 5 in addition to the checks by GVB. It therefore seems that being a bit extra careful on Tram 5 should be enough to travel safely.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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