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Guangdong aims at railway scofflaws

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-27 06:52

Fare dodgers and people caught smoking on trains in Guangdong province could be banned from traveling by rail if they break the rules more than twice.

Ticket scalpers and passengers who use fake identity cards to board a train will also be blacklisted, with offenders facing fines of 500 to 2,000 yuan ($74 to $296), according to draft regulations dealing with railway operations and safety.

Guangdong aims at railway scofflaws

The proposed new rules, released by the provincial Legislative Affairs Office for public feedback, do not say how long a ban would last. Smokers and fare dodgers would be fined immediately when they are caught in the act.

In addition, the province proposes a ban on drones, kites, balloons, lanterns and low-altitude aircraft within 2 kilometers of a railway track.

Zeng Yong, an executive at Guangzhou Railway Group, said the draft regulations would help reduce the number of people dodging fares and smoking on trains. But Chen Tan, dean of Guangzhou University's School of Public Administration, said a 2,000 yuan fine is not heavy enough.

"In Hong Kong, people who smoke in a nonsmoking area are fined the equivalent of 5,000 yuan - let alone smoking on a high-speed train," he said. "Those who threaten safety should be severely punished."

Increasing the fine is one effective measure to punish offenders, Chen said, adding that introducing a credit system for train passengers is also a good way to encourage civilized behavior.

Some residents favor the new regulations. Hu Zhaoming, an office worker in Guangzhou, said railway operators should increase fines to punish smokers to ensure a safe and comfortable railway trip for others.

"Smoking harms the health of all the passengers," he said.

Liang Fengxin contributed to this story.

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