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Masks mandatory on trains in France post-confinement

Passengers on trains in France - including TGVs - will be required to wear masks after confinement and at least until the beginning of the summer, the CEO of train company SNCF has said.

16 April 2020
By Connexion journalist

Jean-Pierre Farandou was speaking to the French Senate yesterday, April 15. He added that while the company would not be able to provide masks for everyone, it would ensure that hand sanitiser gel will be in place at stations, at platforms, and in TGV toilets.

He explained that requiring passengers to wear protective masks would be the only way train travel could go ahead, as “distancing” measures would not be possible.

He said: “If they make us impose distances of 1-1.5 metres between each passenger, even with 100% of trains [running], we would only be able to carry 20% of [numbers] we carry normally. So it won’t work.”

Read more: French specialist: Masks vital post-confinement

Mr Farandou added that trains would be “systematically and regularly” disinfected.

He also said that the aim would be to run double the number of trains after deconfinement, as are running now. This represents a jump from 6-7% to 15% “for the first few weeks”.

The aim will be to run 20% of TGV services by the end of May, rising to 50% by June, and up to 100% by July. Services could come back even more quickly on TER, RER and Transilien routes, the CEO said.

TGV services can only run if they are at a passenger capacity of at least 60%. Currently, the company said it is only selling half of its seats.

Mr Farandou conceded that this recovery “road map” may need to change, depending on health advice and requirements, especially if some regions are able to begin deconfinement sooner than others.

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