Corresponding With School Reopening, Publishing Congestion Information and Organizing Flexible Train Numbers
Coinciding with the schools reopening from June 1st, two local railway companies within Fukui Prefecture are applying various means to reinforce novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection countermeasures, in order for high school students to safely commute to school using public transportation. Fukui Railway will be publishing information on Twitter during the morning rush hours, regarding the state of train congestion every day. Fukui Railway is encouraging dispersed train usage, in line with avoiding the “Three C’s” (Closed spaced, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings). Echizen Railway will be coordinating with the staggered school commute schedule, and operate multiple trains on a flexible schedule.
Fukui Railway will post regularly on Twitter of operation information, and the train schedule for the FUKURAM, the next-generation series of low-floor trams, that has been popular with children. From June 1st, using information regarding the state of congestion and rate of passengers on 8 trains departing from Echizen-Takefu Station between 6:00 a.m. and 7:38 a.m., the number of trains operating around 4:00 p.m. will increase accordingly. The information will then be used as a reference in the trains to be operated during the next morning.
Effort will also be put into spreading knowledge of infection prevention measures. On May 29th, Fukui Railways staff put up posters within train interiors and station premises. The poster has 8 inscriptions, requesting everyone’s cooperation, such as, “Whenever possible, have at least 1 metre of space from each person within the train”, “Do not crowd around the entrance ways”, and “Refrain from conversation within the train as much as possible”.
In addition, the ticket vending machines, ticket counters, and train hand straps will be disinfected with alcohol, among other thorough infection countermeasures. Sachio Sawazaki, company director of Fukui Railway, expressed, “We wish for all high school students to use the trains with peace of mind.”
With Echizen Railway, the company has been operating its trains on a flexible schedule, in order to help high school students avoid the “Three C’s”. For example, the 8:39 a.m. and 9:09 a.m. trains departing from Fukui Station to Mikuni-Awara Onsen each operate with one carriage; however, anticipating the number of students with staggered commuting schedules within central Fukui, transferring through JR Fukui Station, the trains will temporarily operate with two carriages from June 1st.
Along with disinfecting train hand straps and the station premises with alcohol, train windows will be opened regularly for ventilation. Echizen Railway expressed, “We will absolutely make sure that infection prevention measures are carried out, and proceed to fulfill our mission and duty as a public transportation system.”