Linköping train station. Photo: Nils Öberg (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Train station backs down on beggar ban

Train station owners in Linköping have backed down from controversial plans to ban beggars from sitting in and around the station.

The station had put up signs banning the beggars from sitting on station benches, claiming they had received complaints from passengers and that it was a safety issue.

However, legal experts say the signs, saying that the benches at the station are only for paying customers, are illegal. David Heidbrink from Gothenburg University told news agency TT that a judgement from the Supreme Court in 1995 is clear, you cannot ban certain people from public spaces: "You can't ban people", he says, "unless they are breaking the law or disturbing others."

Jernhusen, who own many train stations around Sweden, including the one in Linköping, say the signs will now come down.

"We got it wrong", press spokeswoman Cecilia Granath told TT, "we won't be putting up any more signs at stations, this is a societal problem that Jernhusen cannot solve alone. We will start an initiative to gather those involved, like the local council and charities, to see what we can do that is good for everybody", she adds.

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