The UIC Regional Chairmen for Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America met remotely on 22 September in order to discuss the current situation in relation to Covid-19.
The meeting also served as an opportunity to remind the participants that UIC created an international Covid-19 taskforce in February 2020 with the aim of sharing expertise with and among UIC members and the railway community in order to fight the global Covid-19 pandemic. UIC has created and is maintaining several databases, forums and other communication channels to share best practice, measures and information among members in accordance with the latest scientific developments and measures taken by the authorities. Despite the fact that public transport has been heavily affected financially by the crisis, the general public’s perception and expectations in respect of low-emission transport solutions have moved forward, with a clear desire to limit congestion.
As stated in the UIC/UNIFE/UITP common statement of 3 June 2020, “the customer experience must be revolutionised through the creation of a seamless multimodal mobility network that places rail at its backbone and utilises flow management to anticipate consumer patterns. It is possible to reform cumbersome elements of public transport which act as a barrier to usage. If we act now, public rail transport can be more widely associated with freedom, flexibility and comfort”.
It is hoped that the entire railway operating community will continue to use UIC’s initiative as a forum for collective reflection on the role that the railways can and must play in order to serve as the cornerstone of the future mobility network.
This information, presented by Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director and leader of the Covid-19 Taskforce, was welcomed and supported by the Regional Chairmen.