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SNCF to offer temperature checks for French train passengers

French rail company SNCF is to start taking the temperature of passengers aboard its TGV Inoui services on a voluntary basis, it has said, using non-contact, thermal cameras on platforms.

The technology has been introduced as an experimental measure to prepare for a possible second wave of Covid-19 in France.

The first tests will take place today (July 21) in Gare de Lyon, Paris (Ile-de-France) and will continue throughout summer.  

SNCF said it has introduced the tests as an experiment, in the context of the Covid-19 health crisis. The company hopes that the voluntary temperature checks will allow it to “check in real-time the fluidity of boarding a TGV Inoui train when temperature checks are in place”.

SNCF director of travel Alain Krakovitch pointed out that similar measures are already in place in airports in France and train stations in other countries.  

He said that if the health situation deteriorated and the government demanded that such measures are introduced in train stations in France, “it would not be acceptable if [SNCF] wasn’t ready for a second wave”.

Read more: French senior doctors warn of lack of Covid airport measures

Passengers with high temperatures still allowed to travel

Five "Bornes Santé" health terminals have been set up ahead of boarding gates in Gare de Lyon. Volunteers must stand in front of the health terminal for four seconds for their temperature to be taken. 

Their temperature will not be displayed and passenger data will not be stored by the terminals. Instead, if a passenger is found to have a temperature over 38.5°C, SNCF staff will approach them after they have passed through boarding gates. 

The passenger will be provided with a new surgical mask, hand gel, and will be reminded of barrier gestures. They will not be stopped from completing their journey but will be allowed to exchange or cancel their ticket without fees if they wish. 

Although temperature checks are currently voluntary, Mr Krakovitch has called on passengers to “play the game”. He hopes a large number of passengers will choose to have a temperature check before they travel in the spirit of “the fight against the virus”. 


More thermal cameras coming 

SNCF plans to install similar thermal cameras in Parisian stations Gare de l’Est and Gare Montparnasse from August 5.

Passengers with a reservation on a TGV train will be informed by SMS or email before their journey if the option of a temperature check is available. 

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