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Zaragoza calls on passengers to not speak on public transport

The City Council in Zaragoza has endorsed the the policy recently implemented in Cataluña to recommend public transport users travel in silence. The request will be seen in posters on both trams and buses to encourage passengers to behave "responsibly".

This move has been implemented following recent scientific studies on the spread of COVID19 via aerosols in limited spaces. A report for the Ministry of Science and Innovation has recommended the use of hand gel, social distancing of 1.5 metres, use of ventilation systems, disinfecting of surfaces, no speaking and especially no singing or shouting.

Natalia Chueca, the Minister of Public Services and Mobility recently announced further measures to improve conditions on public transport, including tests using UV light rays as a sterilization method for surfaces.

Chueca stressed that “everyone's collaboration is essential to stop the pandemic. Although the public transport of Zaragoza is safe from the first moment, thanks to the different measures put in place, we will incorporate everything that is recommended and feasible ”. "Clearly many travellers are already complying with the recommendation to speak as little as possible on buses and trams, but this measure is important to not forget, we must not lower our guard."

This measure is, as in Barcelona, a recommendation, not a mandatory order. Yet it would hardly come as a surprise if passengers showed enthusiasm in policing each other to maintain silence on public transport. Consideration has been given to implementing requirements for wearing masks in a private household in France, and the speed of constant change to our new normal could see such absurdities being floated as policy here in Spain. It might seem absurd, but then only a few months ago the idea of the local authority implementing recommendations to the public to not speak on the bus or tram seemed ludicrous as well.

It is worth remembering that Spain has not identified a single outbreak emerging from public transport and the national government has consistently fought back against the "demonization" of public transport and even expressing concern about the return to car use and the risk of increased air pollution which may have a knock on effect to fatality rates. This all seems at odds with the latest recommendations to be issued. Such "demonization" of public transport is being blamed for the reduced passenger numbers across the country, perhaps potential demonization of talkers is not going to persuade people back on board.


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