Home Special: Public Transport Operators, metros and trams face new transport challenges following the pandemic

Operators, metros and trams face new transport challenges following the pandemic

por Patricia

 

  JESÚS HERRERO 

GENERAL SECRETARY

ATUC

“The public transport companies are
complying meticulously from day one with the sanitary and cleaning protocols established”.
“.

 

The public transport companies are complying meticulously from day one, as could not be otherwise, with the sanitary and cleaning protocols established to protect users and employees.

We guarantee a fundamental right such as the mobility of all citizens and that is why we work hard to offer a service that is in line with this right. We are the sustainable alternative and, of course, a safe alternative.

The public transport companies are complying meticulously from day one, as could not be otherwise, with the sanitary and cleaning protocols established to protect users and employees.

We guarantee a fundamental right such as the mobility of all citizens and that is why we work hard to offer a service that is in line with this right. We are the sustainable alternative and, of course, a safe alternative.


 

IMANOL LEZA
GENERAL MANAGER
EUSKOTREN

“Rail transport is the most sustainable means of mass transportation”.

 

Rail transport is the most sustainable means of mass transportation and has therefore managed to improve its utilisation rates in recent years. We cannot allow COVID-19 to mean a return to society using private vehicles.

Public transport’s safety cannot be put into question. As part of its return to normality contingency plan, Euskotren has therefore implemented all the measures at its disposal to guarantee optimum safety and hygiene in its operations.

It was the first railway operator in the Basque Country to restore and implement the summer service, specifically, on 8 June.

It was also the first railway company of the Basque Country and of Spain to obtain the AENOR certificate regarding anti-COVID protocol management. This is clear proof that the best practices against COVID-19 have been adopted and is a further reason for the company’s workers and the passengers to trust in its management.

This certification, which endorses the company’s effort, is an additional guarantee aimed at restoring passenger transport to its usual mobility percentages as soon as possible.

Public means of transport are safe, but that safety requires the joint-responsibility of the users, who have to comply with all the protection and safety rules in force. Euskotren is therefore calling for social responsibility, the other determining factor in this battle that we will certainly win.

 


 

 

 

RICARD FONT I HEREU

PRESIDENT

FERROCARRILS DE LA GENERALITAT DE CATALUNYA

 

“More than ever, digitization and technology have proven themselves as key factors on fighting the pandemic”.

 

 

FGC has guaranteed service operation whilst prioritizing protection measure for passengers and staff which, particularly those linked to sanitizing, will be added to standard procedures. More than ever, digitization and technology have proven themselves as key factors on fighting the pandemic.

Effective communication has proven essential and will be even more so on the recovery of trust in transport services both urban, interurban and touristic. The message that public transport is a safe space should be reinforced.

FGC is committed on achieving this recuperation and we prove it by operating at full capacity as well the metropolitan and regional transport as the touristic services which have already opened the summer season with full guarantees.

However, it is essential a full support from government and authorities guarantee not only the economic issues but reinforcing the role of rail transport as an essential part on the configuration of a sustainable transport system. We must not forget that the challenge of climate change is as significant now as before the pandemic, or even more!


 

TOMÁS CEBRIÁN CUESTA

OPERATIONS MANAGER

FGV

“It is necessary to adopt measures to add to those already implemented”.

 

Since mid-March, before the state of alarm was declared, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV), like almost all the companies in the sector, has been adopting and continues to implement different measures to deal with the health emergency caused by COVID-19.

After different service reorganizations, FGV now offers practically 100% of our usual circulations in Metrovalencia and TRAM d’Alacant. The growth of travellers is gradual, and we are already at a percentage of 40% and 50% in Valencia and Alicante, respectively, of the users who registered at this time in previous years.

In view of this new reality, it is necessary to adopt measures to add to those already implemented in previous months and to facilitate the use of public transport. FGV is already working on two projects, one related to the analysis of samples to determine the presence or absence of COVID-19 in trains and facilities, and another aimed at controlling passenger access to train.

In mid-June, as part of a project involving other operations as well, we began to analyse samples and air quality of Metrovalencia and TRAM d’Alacant trains and facilities, with the aim of detecting the possible presence of the virus. The first results from Valencia and Alicante have confirmed the absence of traces of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in the facilities and trains analysed.

As specialists in viral analysis, the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), which reports to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, has been contacted.

Together with this initiative, FGV is working on the development of a project that will make it possible to establish the limitation on access to those trains in the Metrovalencia network that may exceed the expected capacity. In this way, we will be able to determine the maximum number of people who can get on at each station and thus limit the passage of travellers at the ticket validation area of that station.

These are two initiatives that form part of the many that have been and are being carried out at this time by FGV, with the aim of continuing to provide our transport service, but now even more so with greater guarantees for our workers and users.


SILVIA ROLDÁN

CEO

METRO DE MADRID

“Metro de Madrid has implemented a set of measures to guarantee the health and safety of both users and workers”.

 

 

Metro de Madrid has implemented a set of measures to guarantee the health and safety of both users and workers throughout all stages of the COVID 19 pandemic crisis. First of all, we have focused on both cleaning and disinfecting all the stations and trains. Furthermore, we have increased the offer and frequency of trains in order to reinforce social distancing.

Lastly, during the de-escalation process, we are combining these measures with new technology. Since the main challenge is to control the maximum capacity, we have designed a system, based on ‘big data’, enabling automatic turnstile block in case of passenger capacity excess.

To get our customers back we need public transport to be seen as a safe place. It will be a gradual process, but to regain the confidence of passengers it is essential to return to a true normality, also with regard to new projects. Public transport must continue being the main agent of mobility in cities and we are sure that prevention is key at a time like this.


 

FERNANDO LOZANO

GENERAL MANAGER

METRO DE MÁLAGA

 

 

 

“The current challenge is to restore our passengers confidence overcome the fear of infection and regain the market share”.

 

 

In Metro Malaga we have thrown ourselves into the protection of our passengers and employees. 4 areas were established to deal with the containment of COVID-19: organisational measures and alteration of the train timetables, occupational health, cleaning and disinfection and communication and customer service.

The current challenge is to restore our passengers confidence overcome the fear of infection and regain the market share. We are currently obtaining the AENOR protocol to combat COVID-19 certificate, a measure that allows us to have an international leading body supervise and confirm that our protocols are adapted to the recommendations of national and international organizations.

However, the messages aimed at our users to regain confidence in the use of public transport would fall on deaf ears without solid and determined support from the public administration.

From the collective transport sector, we perceive that we have retraced part of the path undertaken many years ago, in the course of which, we saw that people valued public transport as a safe, economic and sustainable choice.
Therefore, it is essential that, after the many contradictory messages sent from the public administration discouraging the use of public transport, its promotion be resumed, given the primary role that public transport must play in the sustainable development of our cities.


JULIO JESÚS CABALLERO SÁNCHEZ

PUBLIC WORKS AGENCY CEO

 ANDALUCÍA REGIONAL GOVERNMENT

 

 

“The permanent analysis of the demand is a fundamental tool to
recover public transport users”.

 

 

 

Building up the trust of future users of public transport is a key social challenge after the serious crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of 2020. Measures implemented by the Andalusian Government during the State of Alarm included limiting travel (only essential travel was allowed), to guarantee the health and safety of workers and users of Andalusian transport networks.

The Public Works Agency of the Andalusian Government, which manages the Seville and Malaga metro lines (an administrative concession), and Granada Tram or light rail, has ensured that all regulations issued by the health authorities were implemented so as to prevent infections. The result of this work in Granada’s light rail network is currently being assessed within the framework of the AENOR Protocol Certificate against Covid19.

In Andalusia, metro station and train cleaning and disinfection protocols were drastically stepped up, additional cleaning of each line’s beginning stations joining the usual nightly cleaning and disinfection of rolling stock. This extra cleaning protocols were carried out in an agile way during commercial hours, in order not to interfere with the service. The Granada light rail, which is directly managed by the Public Works Agency, cleaning and disinfection works were intensive, including the signing of an ad hoc contract to provide the additional services in the short to medium term. Also, hydrogel dispensers have been placed for users in all stations, main contact points have been disinfected, and opening automatic doors have been installed on trains to avoid users having to press the button.

Customer information has been continuous, with the public-address system, screen displays and information signs distributed throughout Metro stations and trains presenting the customer with itineraries and advice. Additionally, the websites and social media accounts of our metropolitan railways published complementary information about COVID-19.

The frequencies and schedules were adjusted during the State of Alarm, as well as the occupancy of the trains. The transport service has been progressively gone back to normal as the region progressed through different phases of emergency. Now the service (services, schedules, and frequencies) is back to normal, and the only limitation is the standing capacity of trains. The permanent analysis of the demand is a fundamental tool to recover public transport users. We analyse daily reports of passenger traffic (of all three metro networks), broken-up by time of the day and stations, and compare them with pre-pandemic data.

Now it is time to continue implementing these guidelines to maintain the public trust, avoid possible risk situations, and use technology and innovation to bring up user numbers to pre-pandemic levels. That will contribute to the healthy growth that we all want and to progressively recover pre-health crisis demands.


ANDRÉS MUÑOZ DE DIOS RODRÍGUEZ

CEO

 METROTENERIFE

 

“The financial support is vital to the survival of the sector”.

 

 

At Metrotenerife, we carry out the same policies as in any other national or European network. However, our differentiating element is the application of ticketing, via-movil, which lets the passenger buy, top up and validate his/her ticket using his/her own mobile, without having to touch any surface or object, thus reducing the risk of transmission of the virus.

Public transport has been just one more victim of this crisis. It has even been stigmatised by the public administration as a possible vector for contagion, totally contrary to a historical policy of promotion of public transport. Furthermore, it has suffered a brutal loss of income while maintaining its cost structure. Now we have to win back the confidence of our customers and get our income back.

As is stated in the EU Declaration and by the UITP, financial support is vital to the survival of the sector. If there is no income, public transport faces an uncertain future.


GERARDO LERTXUNDI

CEO

TMB

 

“We want to regain the trust of our users and we need the support of governments”.

 

We are applying all the protocols of disinfection of areas and air renewal. We are even exploring new virucidal methods such as UVC ultraviolet light.

We help users to comply with hygiene regulations by marking itineraries, placing hydroalcoholic gel dispensers in the main stations and offering it next to the masks in vending machines. To avoid crowds, we have innovated in communication by publishing in the website the expected occupation for each line according to time slot and direction.

Our sector has proved to be a generator of opportunities: economic promotion, sustainability, territorial and social cohesion, employment…

Before the pandemic, we were moving towards new mobility: capable of satisfying growing demand, providing greener and higher quality service.

We want to regain the trust of our users and we need the support of governments so that less sustainable options do not displace public transport from its role.


MATEU CAPELLA

MANAGIN DIRECTOR

SERVICIOS FERROVIARIOS DE  MALLORCA (SFM)

“It is essential that all mobility authorities work in a coordinated manner”.

 

 

From the early moment of the outbreak of the health crisis, SFM acted quickly and implemented strict hygiene protocols with two objectives: to ensure the safety of the few travelers who had to move and to convey confidence to users so that when things could return to a certain normal.

We have taken measures such as: adapting frequencies to demand, disinfecting each train or metro unit when it completed a journey at the terminal station, constant cleaning of facilities and mobile material, installing hydroalcoholic gel dispensers on trains and stations or signaling safety distances and occupation of trains and elevators.
All workers have had protective material from the outset and cleaning equipment, equipped with EPI suits.

Communication to the user is being constant to remember preventive measures and conditions of use of transport.

For SFM, it is essential that all mobility authorities work in a coordinated manner to bring to the population as a whole that the railway remains a totally safe and absolutely necessary means to reduce the needs of private vehicle use in cities, even more so in a context of shifting towards a more sustainable society of progress.


 

SEVERIANO ARIAS

MANAGER 

TRANVÍA DE MURCIA

 

“Murcia Tram is committed to users and the city”.

 

 

 

From Murcia Tramway, it has been clearly and responsibly committed to safety and to maintaining the trust of our users. A security protocol for users has been developed, consisting of measures such as cleaning and disinfecting seats, vertical bars and accessible areas, which are applied to users after each carousel in the main service, and three times a day in service shuttle to UCAM. In addition it is done; daily disinfection of trams (interior and exterior), the; installation of hydroalcoholic gel dispensers in all vehicles, as well as the disposal of users; delivery of face masks to those users who do not have it.

In short, these measures, together with different awareness-raising actions implemented, have allowed the recovery of passenger confidence, thus allowing the Murcia Tramway to continue to be the most widely used form of public transport. Yes, we want to take this opportunity to indicate the strong commitment of Tranvía de Murcia with its users and with the city. This commitment is reflected in the operation of the service throughout the development of the health crisis caused by COVID-19. The schedules have been adapted and made flexible to the demand and requests of the administration. We continue to be punctual, comfortable, reliable and very safe transportation.

In addition to the cleaning and disinfection actions described in the previous question, Murcia Tram has not stopped, it has stopped developing actions to obtain managers for the development of responsible and sustainable public transport. We have implemented developed measures to improve our efficiency: installation of photovoltaic panels in our facilities for self-sufficiency, installation of led lights at stops to avoid light pollution as much as possible and reduce electricity consumption. Sample of our commitment to sustainability we have renewed, the renewal of the seal in the Carbon Footprint Registry.

We have been the best rated and most used public transport by Murcia for nine years. We want to continue being it incorporating all the necessary measures so that the journey of our users is the safest and most efficient.
Because we like to bring people closer, we invite you to move by tram.

 


ANA MORENO LORENTE

CEO SEM

TRANVÍAS DE ZARAGOZA S.A.

 

“Tranvía de Zaragoza has given service with full capacity, operating with double-train trams”.

Zaragoza Tram, the line with the most users in Spain, has made an intense work in order to offer the best safety and cleaning, and to recover the customers confidence. Since the pandemic began, the public transport has maintained its whole capacity, operating with double-train trams and extended frequencies. In line with the evolution of the different phases of the State of Alarm, Zaragoza Tram recovered its normal timetable and teh operation with single units.
As well as the cleaning and desinfection works, the Tram has been free to ride for health and nursery homes employees, hand-sanitizing gel dispensers had been placed inside the vehicles, and masks vending machines had been installed in the stops.

Confidence is a key factor. The Tram company has promoted with the City Council a global campaign for the whole public transport, with different contents in the media and in billboards, with messages like “Tram takes care of you” and remarking the efforts made in safety.

Through the EU and the Spanish Government, it is necessary to develop financial support to the public transport, that has been and is essential. By the middle of June, Tram has recovered the 49% of the demand that had in the same dates of 2019.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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