The rules of distancing in public transport will be relaxed to allow “a greater influx at peak times” and to “go on vacation by TGV”, promised this Friday the Minister of Ecological Transition Elisabeth Borne.
Since the start of deconfinement on May 11, wearing a mask has been mandatory in public transport, and strict rules have been imposed to force travelers to stay at least one meter from each other – which mechanically restricts attendance. SNCF, for its part, only sells one seat out of two on TGV and Intercités trains.
“We started with a very demanding approach […] Today we can see […] that the health situation is encouraging, and on the other hand that the wearing of the mask is overwhelmingly respected, ”observed Elisabeth Borne during a press conference broadcast on Twitter.
This discipline opens the way to a very soon relaxation of the rules, she assured: “It will allow us (to authorize) a greater influx during peak hours, to stop what we see today: queues of several hundred meters at the entrance of certain stations and stations. We can clearly see that the balance has to move and that is what we are going to do in the texts that will be published by June 2 ”.
This relaxation will also concern trains, she added: “As far as possible, it is important to keep this distance, but we must also allow people to go on vacation, for example by TGV”.
Details in the decree issued this weekend
While the government has announced the abolition of the limit of 100 km outside the home for travel from Tuesday, the SNCF said “await clarification […] in the decrees that the government will publish by this weekend. “
Elisabeth Borne invoked recommendations from the High Council for Public Health, believing that “when two people wear a mask, then it is sufficient protection”. The distancing rules in the Paris metro had limited “carrying capacity” to around 15% to 20% of normal, at RATP.
On Wednesday, the Secretary of State for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, had already indicated that the government planned to end the obligation for SNCF to market only one seat out of two on TGV trains. Below 60% occupancy in TGV (80% for Ouigo), the SNCF loses money.