complaint on conductor: photographing + use of face mask on platform

  • 17 oktober 2020
  • 8 reacties
  • 330 Bekeken

Dear NS,

I am a regular customer of NS, commuting daily on the Amsterdam-Utrecht route for my work (on a traject vrij abonnement). In addition, i work on an essential profession, which means i have been using the train non-stop all 2020.

Since June, i participated with enthusiasm on your pilot (Trein Veilig Service) and have been ever since recognizing the great deal of effort of most of NS employees to streamline transportation in these tough times. Getting us going where we are needed, daily, is serious business. It’s tough for them and us, and some of them make me feel we are in this together. I am grateful for these people.

However, for some other NS employees i am not grateful at all. Yesterday, on my way back home, i had a very unpleasant (to the limit of harassment) experience with one of your conductors:

 

Waiting for my train on the platform of Utrecht Centraal and quickly grabing the last two bites of my pretzel, i noticed that the train on the opposite side of the platform (arrived some minutes before) had a huge graffiti covering the last compartment. The platform was empty at that time, and only the conductor was there, waiting to whistle the departure. Graffiti’s on NS trains are an abnormal spectacle (at least to me), so i thought it would be worth to capture it. The following conversation with the conductor takes place:

[NS employee, in Dutch] Are you taking a picture? This is not allowed.

[me] Sorry, what?

[NS employee, in English] It’s not allowed to take pictures!

[me] I am taking a picture of the train, there are no people visible anywhere (the whole train was covered in graffiti paint, so it was even impossible to see inside) so i think that’s ok to do.

[NS employee] No it’s not. And you are not wearing your mask. Put it on.

[me] (one hand holding the mask in a plastic bag and my pretzel, other hand juggling my cell phone for the photo) As you see, i am eating before boarding my train. According to what i know, it is ok to do that. There’s no person around me for at least 15 m (except for him, he was standing -after approaching me- at 2-3 m away). And anyway i will put it on as soon as i am finished.

[NS employee] No, you will put your mask on NOW. You are not allowed here without it.

[me] But how can i eat while wearing it?

[NS employee] You do as i say. You should take it on and off only to have a bite!

[me] I don’t think that’s how things are…

[NS employee with a raised voice] AS I SAY! These are the NEW RULES.

At that point, i understood that the person was totally unreasonable. Perhaps a bad day at work? Sad that the train had a graffiti? I dunno, but i know enough not to mess up with unprofessional, ignorant people, especially the ones with a strange feeling of authority empowerment. I replied “ok i will do so” and left -with a fair deal of frustration and disappointment- for my train, that in the meanwhile was just arriving.

 

Two questions to you NS (considering that maybe i am reading the things wrong here in some way):

  1. is it forbidden to shoot a photo -for my own personal use- of a train while on the platform, considering that the photo captures no persons? https://nieuws.ns.nl/filmen-en-fotograferen/ [part: “Is het een privé opname?”]
  2. Is it compulsory (so not an urgent recommendation, but an obligation) to wear a mask while on the platform? And do you encourage using a mask in this on/off way while eating on the platform? https://www.ns.nl/en/featured/corona/face-mask.html [FAQs: “Am i obliged to wear a face mask when I’m in an NS station?” and “Can i eat or drink in the train?”]

I understand that we live in tough times, but i try to deal with it with responsibility and kindness. I hope your answers help me improve and perhaps give to NS employees that recognize themselves on the story above some motivation for change.


8 reacties

Reputatie 7
Badge +3

He probably had a bad day. You may take photos for personal use and it's not (yet) compulsory to wear a face mask on the platforms.

Reputatie 7
Badge +3

Obviously. But having a bad day is never a good excuse.

Hi Aris G., welcome to the NS Community. 

This, certainly, sounds like an unpleasant experience. If you would like to file a formal complaint, please contact customer service by phone, chat, Facebook or Twitter. If the employee can be identified, the incident can be discussed.

Your interpretation of the rules is correct. It is allowed to take pictures for private use as long as no persons are being photographed without their consent. Although the advise is to wear a mask at the station, it's not compulsory yet. Eating and drinking is allowed at the station and in the train. The advise is to eat before or after a journey. If you would like to eat or drink in the train, then you should use the mask as described by the conductor, but at the platform, that isn't necessary at the moment.  

Reputatie 7
Badge +3

If you would like to eat or drink in the train, then you should use the mask as described by the conductor, but at the platform, that isn't necessary at the moment.  

The conductor said: on and off for every bite.
The website says: put your face mask back on as soon as you are finished

Which one is it? :slight_smile:

Reputatie 7
Badge +3

@Mark NS it doesn’t state in the rules “as long as no persons are being photographed without their consent”.

For private use the following rules apply: 

So for taking pictures for non-commercial use nobody needs prior permission. The publication of these pictures is an entirely different matter. But there is no censorship prior to publication in The Netherlands.

If you would like to eat or drink in the train, then you should use the mask as described by the conductor, but at the platform, that isn't necessary at the moment.  

The conductor said: on and off for every bite.
The website says: put your face mask back on as soon as you are finished

Which one is it? :slight_smile:

Good question! That depends on what ‘finished’ means. Finished with taking a bite or finished with eating? I guess both are ok if you do it quick. 

@iMark For private use, it's a bit of a grey area I suppose, but in the terms and safety regulations the following is stated:

Portretrecht

Onze klanten/reizigers en NS-medewerkers mogen niet ongevraagd worden geïnterviewd of nadrukkelijk in beeld worden gebracht, tenzij deze personen daar expliciet toestemming voor hebben gegeven. Anonimiteit dient te worden gewaarborgd (portretrecht). Foto-, film- of geluidsmateriaal mag niet zonder toestemming van NS ter beschikking van derden of voor gebruik voor andere doeleinden dan waarvoor toestemming is gegeven.

 

 

 

Reputatie 7
Badge +3

The key word is “nadrukkelijk”. If I take a picture at a station and you see hundreds of people in the picture there can be no problem. I’m not focussing on any individual. 

Obviously it’s a completely different matter if I’m on a train and take a picture of the person sitting across without asking permission.

Obviously. But having a bad day is never a good excuse.

Loved your quote @iMark :thumbsup_tone2: exactly my point!

Just to make it clear: I didn’t post to vent-off but to help fellow travelers and -why not- even NS employees to educate themselves on their rights and the current rules. No need to file any formal complaint this time, however I am grateful there’s this option (thanks a lot @Mark NS for pointing that out).

In a nutshell:

  • Photographing at a station for personal (non-commercial) use: :white_check_mark: allowed

    •  portraying (focused photos of individuals) without consent: :negative_squared_cross_mark: not allowed

  • Being on a platform without a mask: :white_check_mark: (yet) allowed; urgent advise to wear one
  • Eating and drinking on a platform: :white_check_mark: allowed
    • Eating in the train is also allowed but should be done quickly (a general advice: when wearing a mask, touch it as little times as possible, so @mrfreeze i would say the mask-on/mask off quote is totally nonsensical :rolling_eyes: )

 

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