France's SNCF wants migrants treated 'humanely'

Train inspectors ordered to be kind

15 October, 10:20

    SNCF false message [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20100316 ] SNCF false message [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20100316 ]

    (ANSAmed) - PARIS - The French railways company SNCF on Wednesday ordered its inspectors to be kind to migrants found without tickets. The circular states that they should 'print a zero-euro reservation and give them a place to sit'. The photo of it has gone viral on Twitter. The order is a 'humanitarian' one, but was issued also for the sake of public order. ''These are not free tickets,'' SNCF communications chief Christophe Piednoël said after complaints from the Front National party, which accused the company of handing out free tickets to migrants. ''We only decided on the possibility of a free reservation,'' he said, in order to hand out numbered seats so that they ''stay in a group and there is no risk of conflict with other passengers in case they were to sit in reserved seats.'' These people, he said after the polemics arose, ''will be checked like the others. Like others, they will have to have a ticket and can also be fined. We have. however, asked our personnel onboard and those at the stations to use their common sense. For us, these are not transgressors who want to violate the system. They are people in exceptional circumstances, often in a state of desperation and exhaustion, and it is only normal that they be treated humanely.'' He added that ''if a family gets on without a ticket, we will certainly not make them get off at the next stop and leave them to sleep in the cold,'' Piednoel added, underscoring that the number of those in exile traveling on French trains is not comparable to what is happening in Austria, Hungary and Germany and that the vast majority of them are found to have bought tickets. (ANSAmed).

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