MAKING PUBLIC TRANSIT SAFE A NEXT HURDLE IN EASING LOCKDOWNS

Techlife News|May 02, 2020

MAKING PUBLIC TRANSIT SAFE A NEXT HURDLE IN EASING LOCKDOWNS
In cities around the world, public transportation systems are key to getting workers back on the job and restarting devastated economies. Yet methods of getting around, ranging from trains and buses to ferries and bicycles, will have to be re-imagined for the coronavirus era.

In Europe in particular, mass transit is shaping up as a new focus of governments working to get their countries back on track while responding to the pandemic that now has a death toll of over 120,000 people across the continent.

In the capitals of hard-hit Italy, Spain, France and Britain, standing cheek-to-jowl with fellow commuters was as much a part of the morning routine in pre-coronavirus times as a steaming shot of espresso or a crispy croissant.

That’s going to have to change as authorities try to address economic considerations without losing any hard-won gains that social distancing strategies achieved in controlling the spread of the virus.

Solutions include putting red stickers on the floor to tell bus travelers in Milan how far apart to stand. The Dutch are putting on longer, roomier trains and many cities including Berlin are opening up more lanes to cyclists. In Britain, bus passengers are entering through the middle or rear doors to reduce the virus risks for drivers.

Announcing a gradual easing of France’s strict lockdown, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called public transport a “key measure for the economic recovery” yet acknowledged concerns among passengers.“I understand the apprehension of a good number of our compatriots before taking a metro, a train, a bus, a tram, which are sometimes very densely packed,” he said.

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May 02, 2020