Spain’s national train operator Renfe will begin resuming normal Cercanías service from Monday, May 11, with increased frequencies to ensure safety distance between passengers and avoid overcrowding.
THE company announced it will return the “usual activity of the suburban service,” to provide once again “100 per cent of the service in Madrid, Barcelona and the rest of the 10 capitals where it operates,” in a statement.
The commuter service will therefore return to operate as it did before it was restricted due to the drop in passenger movements caused by the State of Alarm.
Renfe explained that the return to normal will be “gradual” and “adapted” to the demand of each area.
But assured that a “sufficient number of frequencies” will be guaranteed to allow for safety distance between passengers and to avoid crowding.
As such, frequencies will be increased especially during rush hours.
Renfe’s suburban service will be the first to return to normal activity, having been adapted to comply with passenger safety measures, and will offer “a basic transport service to those who have to travel to their workplaces for urgent or professional reasons.”
Since the start of the pandemic and State of Alarm, the number of users has dropped almost 90 per cent compared to the same period last year, given movement restrictions.
To coincide with the move, Renfe is launching an awareness campaign to remind passengers of the safety and prevention measures.
Passengers will be reminded that trips should be limited to those “strictly necessary” and that they should “preferably be made on foot, by bicycle or by any other individual means of transport,” such as the car.
Anybody diagnosed with coronavirus or who lives with someone who has the symptoms “cannot take public transport,” and similarly it should be “avoided if they belong to a group at risk.”
For passengers who have to use the service, the campaign sets out the main criteria, such as the obligation to wear a mask and to respect these safety distances.
Users maintain this separation at station entrances and exits, when passing through the ticket validator, as well as on platforms, escalators and when getting on and off trains.
Recommendations include avoiding talking to other travellers, talking on the phone, or eating and drinking whenever possible.
Renfe is urging people to try not to travel during ‘rush hours,’ to pay for tickets with a card and not with cash, to pay attention to the signs placed in stations and on trains, as well as to the messages on the loudspeakers, and to keep the trip as short as possible.
Personal hygiene measures should also be taken, like washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or a hydroalcoholic gel before and after each trip.