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During the past month, our members have been sending us their thoughts and actions during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Are you still maintaining normal services, or have you introduced revised timetables?
The majority of responses have begun a reduced service by up to three quarters of the usual operations. Those remaining are either currently investigating a reduced service to ensure the safety of passengers and staff, or are under a governement ordered suspension of service.

How are you managing staff patterns and rosters?
All participants have reduced staffing where appropriate, through the furlough of non-essential workers to the relocation of important employees. Those members who have currently suspended services have no staff working aside from duty managers doing daily checks on stations.

What channels are you using to communicate with passengers and what is your current media strategy?
Participants are using all existing forms of online communication including socials, email, website updates and app notifications. Onboard comms have also been updated for the current situation for those passengers still travelling on services. Public awareness materials are being shown at all stations with press releases whenever a government update is issued. A few participants have cancelled paid media for the time being.

If your city is badly affected, are you offering any complimentary travel passes or incentives?
All cities have been affected by the current situation, some more than others. Currently no travel passes or incentives are being offered although are being considered.

How have you revised your vehicle and station cleaning protocols?
All participants have increased cleaning intensity and frequency of customer and staff areas including touchpoints, ticketing machines and the vehicles themselves. Staff have had updated cleaning guidelines to keep on top of this and some have added additional sanitising stations.

Are you experiencing supply chain issues – and do you have a plan?
Fortunately no participant had noticed any supply chain for the usual items issues with the majority are creating detailed plans to prevent any major disruptions. Most have noted an issue with procuring high priority items such as sanitiser and face masks.

What are the main reasons and considerations in deciding to stop services completely?
All participants agree that a serious impact to public health would be a main deciding factor however it is important to keep travel options open to key-workers such as health professionals and shop workers. Those who have suspended services note that by temporarily suspending services now when there is limited demand, they are proactively managing our costs at a time when there is minimal revenue being generated. This is to ensure the future of the company and protecting staff employment for the longterm.

What happens to the staff during this temporary suspension of service?
Staff are kept up to date with current decisions, relocation and furlough options open to those non-essential staff.

What happens to the rolling stock during this period? Opportunity for additional maintenance?
No additional maintenance scheduled for any participants however due to the reduced service some maintenance may be brought forwards during daytime hours.

How long do you estimate it would take to recover to previous levels of ridership?
Unknown. All participant answers range from 6 months – 2+ years. Due to the level of uncertainty regarding individual governments travel restrictions it is impossible to tell when ridership will return to the usual levels. It is safe to assume that even once restrictions are lifted airlines will struggle to rebound due to public awareness of the sanitary risks associated with air travel.

We are continually monitoring the world wide situation with regards to our future events and their format. We are proposing to hold some live webinars a the beginning of June and look forward to supporting each other.

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Take the survey here and let us know how you are affected in this current situation.

During the past month, our members have been sending us their thoughts and actions during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over the current weeks, we would like to continue this as an active Q&A process, so if you would like any questions circulating, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=GARA%20-%20Questions%20submission%20" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy49662 + '\'>'+addy_text49662+'<\/a>'; //-->

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FRANCE: The worldwide railway organisation UIC and the International Air Transport Association IATA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote innovation and develop activities of common interest, mostly in the field of ticketing on 30 January 2020.

IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. It supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. IATA’s aim is to assist airlines by simplifying processes and increasing passenger convenience while reducing costs and improving efficiency.

In a similar way as IATA is for the airlines, UIC is for the railways the worldwide professional association representing the railway sector and promoting rail transport.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, said: “As customers increasingly seek sustainable travel options, it is important that providers work together to offer seamless exchanges of passengers and passenger information. IATA has extensive experience in facilitating standards development to support intramodality and our MoU with UIC is an important step toward strengthening this activity.”

François Davenne, UIC Director General, said: “This MoU confirms the desire to really promote multimodality. Offering customers a single ticket for rail and air travel gives them the opportunity to choose the best of both worlds by optimising their journey as well as their carbon footprint. In addition, both IATA and UIC are currently developing tomorrow’s digital standards for ticketing applications: to work on established interfaces right from the design phase is an exciting prospect.”

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Istambul Airport Metro

Picture from the press office of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey

TURKEY: The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Minister of Transport Mehmet Cahit Turhan have broken ground of the Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport Metro project, which will connect Istanbul New Airport, currently under construction.

Minister Turhan expressed the importance of subways in the rail public transportation infrastructure for the city, "at this point, all four corners of Istanbul were connected by metro thanks to the subway constructions that were initiated during your Metropolitan Municipality period and continued during your Prime Ministry and Presidency. We build on a 7-day, 24-hour, 3-shift basis, " the Minister said.

According to the Minister the new metro line M11 will be 37.5 kilometers long, with nine stations along the route, and maximum speed of 120 km/h, making it the fastest underground train line in Turkey. The journey between the Istabul New Airport and Gayrettepe, will take about 35 min.

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RUSSIA: Russian Railways have announced that it will build a new shuttle trains to Sheremetyevo Airport North Terminal Complex (Terminals B and C). The first phase of the work is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of 2022 and will include an 8km rail line, linking the new Sheremetyevo-1 station.

"At the first stage, a railway line will be built that will connect the terminals D, E, F and B, C. This will allow organizing the movement of electric trains between the North and South terminal complexes," said the head of the Moscow Railway (a branch of Russian Railways ) Mikhail Glazkov.

The work has already started on the first flyover. The first phase of the work will link Sheremetyevo's South Terminal Complex to the North with trains running every 15 minutes.

The second stage involves connecting the new rail link with the Moscow Railway towards Savelovsky direction, as part of the Belorussko-Savelovsky project WDC-1.

After completion of the full range of works, the capacity of the railway infrastructure at Sheremetyevo Airport will increase from 38 existing to 72 pairs of trains per day. From Moscow, trains to the airport will depart every 15 minutes.