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How will train services work after May 11 in France?

The SNCF has taken new measures to operate train services in France as it prepares for the first phase of the end of lockdown on May 11.

6 May 2020

Firstly, wearing a mask will be obligatory in train stations and by passengers onboard trains. 

You may be refused entry to a train and could be fined if you are found not wearing one, Transport Minister Jean-Baptise Djebbari has announced. 

The police and transport security agents will be in charge of sanctioning people who are found to be travelling without wearing a mask.

At the entrance of train stations SNCF staff will regulate the number of people entering the station, similar to the process being undertaken at supermarkets.

Hydroalcoholic gel will also be provided for passengers at 165 stations.

Masks will not be given out to passengers by the SNCF but they will be available for purchase in shops and in vending machines at train stations.

In addition, SNCF passengers will also be able to check train schedules and if their train is expected to be very crowded or not, on the app a day before their travel.

Long distance trains will have to travel at 50% of their capacity as measures of social distancing must be respected in the train and one seat in every two cannot be used.

Social distancing will also apply on the platforms. The SNCF and the RATP, the company in charge of transport in Paris, have been working on ground markings for passengers to respect the safety distance of one metre between each other.

There will be staff on the platforms to check that trains arriving and departing are not overcrowded.

All trains will be cleaned at least once a day.

If the sanitary measures in public transport cannot be respected, some public transport routes may have to close, Mr Djebbari has warned. This could be the case with the Métro in Paris, where stations or lines could close.

The minister also added that to regulate the flow of passengers the government is considering issuing attestation forms, which would reserve public transport for workers at certain times.

The SNCF is set to present its full plan for deconfinement at the end of the week.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in his deconfinement speech last week that all train journeys would have to be reserved in advance after deconfinement starts, however it has not yet been clarified if this will include local TER trains.

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