The 24th meeting of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force was attended remotely on 23 November 2021 by around 30 participants from across the globe.
Philippe Lorand, UIC Senior Advisor and member of the internal Task Force team, on behalf of Marc Guigon, Chair of the Task Force, welcomed the participants and gave an overview of the afternoon’s meeting, with a particular focus on the “New Normal”, how Task Force members are implementing Covid pass measures and what railways are doing to restore customer confidence.
Four interesting presentations were delivered by Task Force member railways as well as by various members of the internal team at UIC.
The key themes of the presentations included:
“How Covid-19 has affected the rail security landscape” Laura Petersen, Senior Advisor, UIC Security Division
Laura Petersen’s presentation looked at the role of rail in crisis communication with the aim of increasing the feeling of security, how railways have been asked by States to share information about measures that have been put in place to address the pandemic, the enforcement of measures and security issues during the pandemic such as metal theft, cybersecurity, aggression and crime, the new concept of Covid fatigue manifesting itself through aggression in passengers, as well as expectations for security issues in the future such as an increase in cybersecurity due to the acceleration of digitalisation in society.
“Implementation of the COVID Pass Measures in the Passenger Service – Best Practice” Carla Zaffiro, Security and Antifraud Specialist, Trenitalia
Carla Zaffiro’s presentation described measures put in place within Trenitalia in order to combat and contain the spread of Covid-19 with the aim of ensuring the best possible conditions for the company’s employees and customers. Trenitalia’s intercompany task force has been working since the beginning of the pandemic to prepare and implement all the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus, implement health measures and provide operation guidelines during the recovery phase.
In addition, Carla Zaffiro described measures and protocols put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 on transport such as social distancing on board trains, rules regarding tickets as well as the green pass which has to be shown by passengers in order to enter railway platforms.
“JR East’s approach for bringing potential customers back to the railways”, Masayoshi Toyohara, Senior Manager, JR-East
Masayoshi Toyohara spoke about JR East’s approach to try and bring customers back to the railways. He started by giving an overview of the company, describing the impact of Covid-19 on Japan and on JR East, both in terms of economic impact and ridership.
He highlighted the ways in which JR East were trying to make rail more attractive, such as making effective use of their assets, operating trains to meet peak demand, attracting potential customers through the creation of flexible workspaces both in stations and onboard trains, offering interesting destinations, making stations more attractive, improving services by making them more comfortable, as well as expanding e-commerce services within stations.
New Normal report update: “How to boost passenger preference for rail”, Philippe Lorand, Senior Advisor, UIC Passenger Department
Philippe Lorand started the update with a recap on the context of UIC and global passenger rail – how passenger rail operators have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and how they are trying to accelerate the recovery period.
Regarding the report, he highlighted the study’s key milestones, such as the interviews to be conducted with members on the issues of the impact of the pandemic on the railways, the recovery pace, passenger needs by region, enablers to facilitate recovery, as well as action plans implemented to restore customer trust and confidence. The interviews are planned to be held until the end of this year with complementary interviews and workshops planned for the beginning of next year and the final report publication planned for next summer.
In the “Next steps and meetings”, Vanessa Perez, Senior UIC Passenger Advisor, gave feedback on the survey recently sent to the Task Force members on what they think about the meetings, their expectations and frequency of the meetings.
Members mentioned that sharing best practice is very useful. Although not all subjects are of interest to everyone due to the different profiles of the members, the overall content and the different perspectives were considered to be both useful and practical with good quality presentations. The members who responded were keen for the UIC Task Force to continue meeting and discussing the latest issues relevant to the pandemic.
Among the topics to discuss in the future, members suggested new Covid measures, coping with Covid long-term, next generation plans, trends in passenger traffic, attracting customers to the railways and restoring confidence.
Vanessa Perez strongly encouraged members to share information using the LinkedIn forum and the UIC Extranet if they wished.
The next Task Force web-conference is scheduled to take place on 1 March 2022. Until then, Members are encouraged to answer the questionnaire if they have not done so already so that the UIC team has a better idea of expectations.
Members are encouraged to share their thoughts on recommendations for the new normal – either by writing to the UIC Task Force team or by posting in the UIC Extranet: https://extranet.uic.org/en/thread/127006
All guidance documents can be consulted on UIC’s dedicated Covid-19 webpage, which is regularly updated with the latest video, news articles, webinars and other audiovisual material: https://uic.org/covid-19
As a reminder, the Task Force LinkedIn group is open to members. Feel free to join the group and share your thoughts: https://lnkd.in/eEKqfW2