How do you transport people by train while still respecting the 1.5 metre rule? That’s what the NS is trying to figure out with a test run between Zwolle and Groningen this week, RTLZ reports.
Respecting the 1.5m rule, so far, has meant that about 75% of train seats need to be empty. For example, in the four-seat arrangement that is very common on Dutch trains, only one of the four seats can be occupied. The NS is using a system of green and red stickers to show where passengers can sit, and where not.
Foto's van de proef tussen #Groningen – #Zwolle van @NS_online / #English #trainlife Reduced traincapacity due to the virus / #Deutsch #zugleben Weniger Sitzplatzen wegen der Virus https://t.co/OpmCkx7qA7
— Groningen (@eurovermeer) April 30, 2020
Demand is expected to increase soon
For the moment, this method of keeping trains 75% empty works well, because demand for public transport has fallen to 85% of its previous level. But when schools reopen, and more regulations relax, using one seat in every four is going to be a major problem.
Trains cannot be made longer because of platform lengths
Other solutions, such as lengthening trains or adding extra trains, are also not possible, because the NS has to respect platform length, and the fact that the Dutch railway system is already very busy. Standing in the carriages, for obvious reasons, is also not a possibility.
— Machinist Stefan (@MachinistStefan) April 29, 2020
Plastic screens are an option
The NS is experimenting with one carriage in these test trains where passengers are separated by a glass screen in the four-seat arrangement: a solution that would allow trains to run at 50% capacity. But, of course, that means quite a bit of work would need to be done on trains before they are ready to be back in service.
One-way system in carriages
Another rule which may help the NS to run its trains safely is to put in place a one-way system in the carriages, so passengers don’t have to pass each other as much.
Do you have any solutions that could allow the NS to increase its capacity in a 1.5m society? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature Image: Pixabay/Skitterphoto