S-train fines piling up for homeless

Some have fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of kroner

Some of Copenhagen's homeless owe upwards of 250,000 kroner in fines accumulated from being caught without tickets on the city S-trains.

June Eliassen, a counsellor with the national homeless organisation SAND, said that unpaid train fines account for a large proportion of the debt of homeless people. For many it's around 100,000 kroner or more.

”The biggest stack of fines I've seen was for over 250,000 kroner,” Eliassen told Kristeligt Dagblad. ”And there are lots of homeless who take the train to warm up. Often it's just as much about getting some peace away from the chaos on the streets and in the shelters.”

READ MORE: Most young homeless have university-educated parents

DSB: Everyone is equal
Eliassen believes that more homeless use the city's trains than before as more local municipality offices in the suburbs close down and public transport is needed to get to the centrally-located offices.

National rail operator DSB did away with an initiative in 2012 that allowed the homeless to pay just 50 kroner to take shorter train journeys over a period of three months. Now DSB says it will treat everyone equally and those without tickets get fined.

SAND maintains that the huge debt relating to DSB fines is problematic as it makes it more difficult for the homeless to get back on their feet.