Swiss railways considering mandatory masks in some cars

Only a minority of passengers have been wearing masks on trains since public transport companies returned to their full schedules this month. Keystone / Pablo Gianinazzi

The Swiss Federal Railways launched a customer survey on Wednesday to help identify possible new safety measures on trains, as public transport schedules returned to normal following the Covid-19 lockdown.

This content was published on May 21, 2020 - 17:07

One of the questions on the survey, which is aimed at around 200 customers, asks whether travellers would take the train more or less often if the company introduced cars in which wearing protective face masks was mandatory. Another question concerns a general obligation to wear masks.

The survey has not yet provided any results, a Federal Railways spokersperson told news agency Keystone-SDA, confirming a report from the news site

“We want to get a clear picture and a sense of what people’s concerns are,” he said.

The Swiss transport workers’ union, SEV, says it is surprised by news of the initiative.

“The Federal Railways have thought about their customers, but have they thought about their staff,” who must check tickets on all train cars, vice-president Barbara Spalinger told public radio SRF.

Few passengers have been seen wearing masks since the return of normal services on May 11, and Federal Railways boss Vincent Ducrot has said more needs to be done to ensure compliance with safety measures. 

The company, along with PostBus transport services, has in place a protection plan that includes recommendations for travellers to keep their distance from one another, to avoid rush hour travel and to wear face masks if a distance of two metres cannot be maintained. A recent poll revealed a majority of respondents are in favour of mandatory face masks on public transport.

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