Travelling by train during Phase 2 of the COVID-19 health emergency

Rome, 22nd May 2020

Travelling by train is safe thanks to the activities and actions enacted by the FS Italiane Group.

Just like in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 health emergency, the main objective of the Italian FS Group during Phase 2 is to protect people’s health, ensuring safe distances and the constant hygiene of convoys and environments used by passengers and employees.

Also, fundamental to guaranteeing a safe journey for all is the responsible and conscious collaboration of each passenger, called upon to respect the provisions, hygiene standards and new regulations issued with the Decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers. Trenitalia and the Italian Railway Network ensure constant updates regarding the requirements of the competent authorities and the initiatives enacted to safeguard the health of passengers both in the station and on the train, with audio announcements, messages on the monitors, as well as printed and digital posters. In addition, newsletters and text messages are provided to CartaFRECCIA holders.

Passenger trains available

About 4,600 regional trains are scheduled as of Wednesday, 3rd June.

For medium- and long-distance trips, 38 Frecce and 20 InterCity trains shall travel along the main routes throughout Italy.

In the period of reduced operation, the trains were subject to extraordinary activities to ensure maximum efficiency of the convoys, combined with internal maintenance operations.

During the first phase of the health emergency, Trenitalia guaranteed essential services for those needing to travel pursuant to the provisions of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and by the competent authorities. As a consequence of the lockdown, Trenitalia has reduced the number of Frecce trains since early March and, in agreement with the contracting authorities of the service (the State and Regions), also the number of InterCity and regional trains.

In the stations

RFI is finalizing the high traffic stations with horizontal signs to separate the flows of inbound and outbound passengers and to ensure distancing between arriving and departing travellers along the footpaths.

Hygiene and sanitation of trains and stations

Stations are sanitised with specific cleaning operations whilst the waiting rooms are closed to comply with the ban on assembly and the safety distances determined by government decrees. The same tasks were also performed for ticket offices, self-service machines, Freccia Desks, Freccia Lounges, Freccia Clubs and Freccia Waiting Rooms.

Right from the outset of the COVID-19 emergency, Trenitalia has strengthened the train cleaning and sanitisation procedures, reducing the time between cleaning sessions.

In addition, new procedures have been shared and approved with industry experts, to refine and improve the cleaning and sanitisation operations of the fleet and the station environments. These are key operations for ensuring safe travel for passengers and employees.

Trenitalia has tested the new procedures and has put in place ways to obtain certification through an external entity on the nebulisation and vaporisation of the areas with special disinfectants. The modern tools employed ensure even profounder hygiene for the seats, baggage area, tables and all surfaces with which passengers come into contact.

Special operations are dedicated to cleaning and sanitising the air-conditioning systems of the trains, to the installation of hand sanitiser gel dispensers in the bathrooms and entryways of the convoys along with the sanitisation of surfaces and environments whilst the trains are stopped at the station for longer periods.

Finally, the activities of the travelling cleaner were upgraded for the entire Trenitalia fleet. In addition to ensuring hygiene, the travelling cleaner cleans and sanitises the spaces and bathrooms also throughout the trip to protect the health of passengers and employees.

As of Monday, 18 May 2020, a reception service aboard the Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains hands out a free safety kit to passengers containing a mask, hand sanitising gel, Latex gloves, a disposable headrest cover and a can of water. In addition, by using their smartphone to capture the QR code on the tables of Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains, passengers will be able to view information regarding the cleaning and sanitation activities and processes activated by Trenitalia.

For Phase 2 of the COVID-19 health emergency, Busitalia also sustained additional measures to guarantee the health of passengers and employees with extraordinary sanitation operations and the daily disinfection of all exposed surfaces on buses and business premises, along with the installation of sanitiser gel dispensers aboard the vehicles that are also equipped with an additional rescue kit containing protective equipment for use if needed (disposable gloves, mask and disinfectant gel).

Personal distancing aboard the train and buses

Also key for Phase 2 of the health emergency is so-called “personal distancing”. All Frecce and InterCity tickets and passes are now registered in the passenger’s name, as instructed by the competent authorities to ensure a higher level of health safety, making it possible—for example—to be notified if you happen to share your trip with a passenger who subsequently tests positive to the virus.

On the Frecce and InterCity trains travelled with registered tickets and passes, distances between passengers is guaranteed by a new seat allocation criterion, in addition to the presence of red markers on the seats reserved for personal distancing. The new seat-booking function, operative on the Frecce trains as of 10 March, ensures compliance with the safety distances prescribed by the provisions on the prevention and spread of the COVID-19 virus, without impacting on the comfort offered to passengers. In addition, seats must also be booked for those who hold a travel pass. Those travelling on InterCity Night trains will have to book the entire compartment for both the sleeping wagons and berths.

Personal distancing is guaranteed on regional trains with red markers indicating non-usable seats. At present, standing whilst travelling is not allowed. In addition, entry and exit doors from trains, indicated by specific signage, are separated to avoid passengers from crossing paths. Aboard the train, signage on the ground will inform passengers which door to use to exit the train.

Busitalia has also affixed special signage, guided pathways for those using the services and markers to indicate seats reserved to ensure personal distancing. In order to maintain safe distances, it is forbidden to board and alight from the front door. What’s more, passengers must wait for other travellers to descend before boarding. 

The bus transport offering

Busitalia has launched a passenger survey with the aim of acquiring information focused on remodelling the transport offering, which can be further adapted according to demand and following the new provisions of the competent authorities. Details and updates are available on the fsbusitalia.it website.

In addition, a policy has been devised and disseminated to the public, outlining the proper conduct on board the means of transport for responsible travel. The policy is published on the fsbusitalia.it website. Failure to comply with the rules established may result in discontinuation of service.

Digitisation

Investments in computer system innovation and digitisation are fundamental for Phase 2 of the health emergency and for the return of Italy’s transport system. Trenitalia invites its passengers to up their use of digital channels to purchase tickets, in particular via the Trenitalia App and trenitalia.com website. In addition, those who buy their tickets from ticket offices and through the self-service machines will also receive their ticket via email or text message.

Busitalia advises passengers to purchase their ticket before boarding and to give preference to acquisition via self-service machines, the Web Shop, as well as the corporate and nugo apps. In Umbria, the QR code present at each stop can be captured using any free QR code reading application to view the times buses will be passing by.

FS Italiane Group’s nugo app guarantees the constant updating of routes and timetables, aligned with the changes implemented by the transport companies in view of the COVID-19 health emergency.

The nugo digital channel ensures travellers can purchase and utilise public transport tickets without any external contact. The nugo live ticket (a digital ticket with security features and contactless operation to simplify use/control activities) means no contact is required either during purchase nor use with personnel, money or specific devices (automatic emitters, turnstiles), whilst also preventing the need to assemble or queue up for purchases from manned ticket offices.

An information collection system is being implemented in order allow people to have single-point, quick and exhaustive access to the measures adopted by each transport operator, with details on the distancing between travellers and the sanitisation of the vehicles. nugo is contacting all its customers that have used transport services in the last few weeks to refund them the amounts incurred.

First and last mile

Of enormous importance in Phase 2 will be the upgrade and development of integrating train travel with other means, such as bicycles and scooters. For Trenitalia, the promotion of soft mobility and train/bike integration is an objective that has been pursued and achieved after several years, with even greater focus being dedicated during this phase of restarting transport.

Folding bikes (electric and otherwise) can be taken aboard the trains at no cost. Also, at zero cost is the insurance for accidental damages and the reflective bracelet, offered to regional and InterCity pass and CartaFRECCIA holders purchasing their folding bike from Decathlon. The new Rock and Pop regional trains have more spaces for bikes. InterCity trains will also have six slots for two-wheelers by the end of the year.

For those planning to rent a car after travelling aboard the Frecce, InterCity, InterCity Night, EuroCity and EuroNight exclusive offers are available from Maggiore, Avis and Budget, dedicated to Trenitalia customers and CartaFRECCE holders with the option to use CartaFRECCE loyalty points towards the costs incurred on the car rental. Exclusive rates are also available for Rental with Driver services, bookable on the Frecciatransfer.com website, to and from main Italian locations.

New forms of tickets and passes

New initiatives and ticket and pass systems for regional travel are being studied by Trenitalia to increasingly reflect the evolving needs of passengers. Initiatives, offers and passes will be constructed around people’s needs and shall take into account the changes to the mode and timing of travel during Phase 2 of the health crisis.

Dynamic tariffs

To ensure a better distribution of passengers throughout the day, Trenitalia has already tested a new system of dynamic fares for people travelling on regional trains. First on the Vicenza-Schio line and then between Siena and Grosseto, passengers have already enjoyed the option of purchasing simple regional tickets at the economy fare reduced by 50% for those departing between 9:01 am and 4:59 pm and between 8:01 pm and 5:59 am, every day including weekends and holidays. This has meant the cost of tickets can be differentiated at peak times and for those in which the turnout of people using regional trains is smaller.

The aim—also in view of the positive experiences in other countries—is to stimulate demand through very advantageous tariffs to those not bound by strict schedules and to entice people travelling by private vehicle towards a convenient, safe, comfortable, environmentally-friendly and thus more sustainable means of transport.

Refunds

Trenitalia (FS Italiane Group) is offering full reimbursement for passengers who have renounced their travels due to the health emergency linked to COVID-19. Refunds can be requested for any type of ticket—even those usually non-refundable—and for any destination.

For medium- and long-distance trains, full refunds shall be provided in the form of a credit that can be used within one year. Requests can be made by filling out the specific web form available on the website trenitalia.com.

For those who had purchased a Trenitalia Frecce Carnet offer still valid as of 10 March, the validity has been automatically extended for 4 months from the expiration date. For regional trains, full refunds are offered in monetary form and can be requested by submitting the form via post or email to the Regional/Provincial Directorates responsible for the travel destination.