State-owned railway company DSB is looking to end begging on trains and at stations by implementing a new system that will allow travellers to donate money to the homeless via SMS.
In co-operation with a few interest groups, DSB has encouraged passengers to donate money via their mobile phone instead of handing out change to beggars. The company believes that this will halt begging in the public transport domain.
The campaign is a response to a rise in begging on trains, something that the police shouldn’t have to deal with, as Anders Petersen, commuter spokesman for Klampenborg and Hillerød municipalities, explained.
“It would be a waste of time for the police and resources for society in general,” Petersen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “Begging is an annoyance, to be sure, but people are not being assaulted.”
DSB reckons that if passengers would give money to the homeless using the phones, begging would drop off considerably on the trains.
Any money donated through the SMS service would go to those who really need it instead of the beggars who are most unabashed and forward, according to Niklas Marschall, who is a DSB sales director.
“And hopefully, that will also put an end to customers giving the money directly to the beggars,” Marschall told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “They will keep begging in the trains as long as it pays to do so.”
DSB predicted that there would be an increase of begging soon as summer arrives, and that the beggars can be categorised in two general groups.
“The one group consists of people who have fallen on hard times and need a little help to get through the day,” Marschall told Jyllands-Posten. “But the second group is of a more professional character. They are more aggressive and they are the ones that really irritate the customers.”
DSB already attempted to deal with the dilemma by handing out cards that allow the homeless to travel for free, but that has not helped and indeed seems to only have exacerbated the begging issue.