How to make travelers move on while upholding the famous physical distancing? This is brain-teaser the SNCF tries to solve while the first step of deconfinement is just around the corner. In addition to compulsory facemasks, other rules have been set up and unveiled by SNCF Voyageurs CEO Christophe Fanichet in Le Parisien.
This Friday May 8, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari has repeated: "We will also uphold restrictions for long-distance trains, TGV, Intercité trains, as much for the number of trains as maximum capacity of people who can ride trains in order to limit, from May 11th to June 2nd, the spread of the virus. I remind that trips over 100km outside your home department are only possible for pressing grounds, especially related to business trips or family trips and that they require a certificate in case of control".
Yet, starting from May 11th, 60% of Transilien trains will work between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 55% of the TER trains will work. For the record, an employer's certificate will be compulsory to ride Ile-de-France trains at peak hours.
Compulsory facemask and disinfection
As announced by the Prime Minister, facemasks will be compulsory in public transit from May 11th. Starting from that day, travelers will have to wear a protective facemask aboard SNCF trains or be fined. "The price is not yet known, it is the public authority to set it" Christophe Fancinet told our peers at Le Parisien. Careful thouugh, make sure you have you own mask as the train company does not plan to give one to users.
So, how can you do if you arrive at the station without a mask? The SNCF announces that vending machines will be available and masks will be sold in stores. As for disinfection, hand-sanitizer vending machines will be put in 165 railway stations in France and all trains be cleaned at least once a day.
Limiting the inflow of travelers in stations and trains
Another measure set up by the SNCF? A filtering system at the entrance of stations to limit the inflow of travelers, as already announced by Île-de-France Region President Valérie Pécresse. "Filtering will take place at the entrance of stations. So, like when you go shopping since confinement has started, you are likely not to come in directly" Christophe Fanichet said.
Once again, in order to limit the inflow of travelers, SNCF Voyageurs CEO announces the creation of an HQ to manage the real-time inflow in trains. "In some of our stations, we will have observers on platforms to assess the situation and call the next station if the train is empty or full and regulate the number of people in trains" he said.
And for travelers wishing to anticipate their travel depending on the inflow forecasted, the SNCF is working on a system that could be provided with a color code or emoticons. "We will publish on the SNCF app the schedules of all trains circulating for the next three weeks. Including TER, Transiliens, TGVs and Intercités" Christophe Fanichet said before adding that "this information will enable travelers, mainly in daily commutes, to take a train sooner or later, depending on the inflow expected".
To limit the number of travelers in trains and enable physical distancing, SNCF Voyageurs CEO explains that bookings for TGV and Intercité trains "will be stopped as soon as the occupation rate of 50% is reached".
Lastly, Christophe Fanichet says SNCF ticket prices will not increase. "We will make sure to keep reasonable prices, kept during confinement. It is out of question to rise them to catch up" he said.
For the record, the SNCF aims at having, starting from May 11th "50 to 60% of daily trains and to increase very quickly up to three trains in four for an occupational rate that should be included between 25 and 50%".