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Bus company wants clearer guidelines for ID-checks

Published tisdag 5 januari 2016 kl 11.52
"No-one want to be the first to get the penalty fee"
(4:28 min)
The Öresunds bridge, which serves as the link between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT.
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The Öresunds bridge, which serves as the link between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT.
Are all transport companies expected to take pictures of the ID cards? The instructions are not clear according to Swebus. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
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Are all transport companies expected to take pictures of the ID cards? The instructions are not clear according to Swebus. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The guidelines for how transport companies should carry out the ID-checks are too vague, according to one of the bus companies that takes passengers from Denmark to Sweden.

Very few people were turned away from boarding a bus or a train from Denmark to Sweden yesterday, and the transport companies were generally pleased with how the first day with ID-checks went.

"We think it was a good premiere," Tony Bispeskov, communications manager at the Danish train company DSB told the news agency TT.

He claims that nine out of ten passengers on Monday were only delayed ten minutes due to the checks, which the government introduced as a way to try to cut the number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden.

DSB has not registered how many people was denied to get on a train to go to Sweden, but according to Tony Bispeskov it is "less than one per cent, we are talking about per mille here".

The bus company Swebus, which takes passengers from Denmark to Sweden up to six times per day, did not have to turn anyone away.

"We managed to check all ID-cards and passports without too much hassle for the passengers and without any delays on the bus time schedule. And everyone who came to our buses and wanted to travel with us had a valid ID, so we did not have to deny anyone to travel with us," said Christel Grip, spokesperson at Swebus.

On Monday, she expressed concern that the guidelines issued by police as to how the ID-checks were supposed to be carried out were too vague. After the first day, new issues have emerged.

"I would very much prefer clearer guidelines," she told Radio Sweden.

How to recognise what is a proper passport when the text is in a foreign language is one problem. Yesterday it emerged that the train company DSB was taking photographs of people's documents, while Swebus just noted what type of ID had been shown.

"We don't really know if that is enough. We have spoken to the police yesterday, and they are not sure either," Grip said.

When there is this uncertainty, is there a risk that the drivers turn away people just because they want to be on the safe side, to avoid that the company is fined SEK 50,000?

"Yes, there is always a risk that passengers would be turned down, just because of the uncertainty, that is of course not good for the customers. And this very big penalty fee of 50,000 kroner is a lot of money for a small bus company," said Grip.

The drivers have had not been specifically trained for the new task, as there has not been time to carry out such a training.

"They have been instructed to follow the pretty vague instructions that we have got from the police. Then we have to try and see what the police accepts and not. So it is a little bit of trial and error in this first week," she said.

According to Grip, most drivers feel ok about doing the task.

"But there is a worry about this penalty fee. No one wants to be the person who is the first who gets the penalty fee," she added.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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