Rail company prepared for return to work on Monday

With many people set to return to their respective places of work for the first time in 7 weeks on Monday, the Belgian rail company NMBS has announced a number of measures to ensure that commuters and other rail passengers will be able to travel as safely as possible. 

In a press statement released on Friday morning NMBS said that the lion’s share of its normal weekday services will be running again from Monday 4 May. Furthermore, as much rolling stock as possible will be deployed to ensure that passengers have as much space as is feasible.  

·        However, in many cases social distancing of 1.5 metres will not be able to maintain so, as on other modes of public transport, the wearing of face masks will be mandatory. This applies to passengers on board trains as well as those waiting on platforms or inside stations. NMBS will put up posters, place stickers on the floor of its stations and make regular announcements via station public address systems telling passengers that the rule is in force. The police and the rail company’s security guards will ensure that the rule is enforced.

·        Both trains and stations will (as has been the case since the start of the COVID-19 crisis) continue to be cleaned more regularly than was the case before the crisis.

·        Passengers will be required to keep to the right on stairwells and escalators and not to overtake those in front of them.

·        From 11 May shops in station will gradually start trying to sell face masks and disinfectant hand gel.

·        Train guards will use an electronic whistle to warn passengers that the train doors are closing. This will replace the traditional whistle for reasons of hygiene. Guards that haven’t been issued with an electronic whistle by Monday will have to shout that the doors are about to close.

·        Meanwhile, passengers are advised to spread their journeys as much as possible and to travel outside rush hours.