Coronavirus: City commuters complain about overcrowded trains

Coronavirus: City commuters complain about overcrowded trains
File photo of people waiting for trains in Madrid's Atocha. Photo: AFP
Spaniards attempting to get to work on Monday were left fuming after a cut in commuter and metro services in Spain’s two largest cities meant transport was more crowded than a typical morning. All this despite the government urging people to keep their distance from others.

After a weekend spent in confinement in their homes with the message that social interaction must be stopped to slow the spread of the spread of the coronavirus as the nation’s hospitals reached crisis point, those for whom working from home was not an option were forced to abandon isolation and commute to work.

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But overcrowded platforms and train carriages forcing commuters into close proximity to one another made a mockery of the national lockdown, according to social media posts. 

Public transport is continuing to be operational to provide those essential workers with a means to get to their workplace, but authorities had warned that services would be cut by half because so many people are working from home.

However in Barcelona and Madrid on Monday morning, there were scenes of overcrowding. This is the cercanias service at Madrid's Atocha this morning: 

And this in nearby station Menendez Alvaro:

 

Meanwhile similar scenes were recorded in Barcelona: 

However, authorities insisted that bar short disruption to cercanias services early in the morning in Madrid. there was no overcrowding on the trains. 

Madrid's metro released CCTV images showing empty platforms and sparsely occupied trains and insisted that there were 75 percent fewer passengers than at the same time on a typical Monday morning.

The Spanish government declared a state of alert on Saturday in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus which has so far killed 297 people across Spain. The number of confirmed cases on Monday rose to 8,744 but authorities are no longer testing those with only mild symptoms. 

The state of alert has seen Spain shutting all but essential services and ordering its population of 46 million people to stay at home. People are only authorised to go out to buy food or medicine, to go to work or to get medical treatment.

The crowded public transport services meant it was impossible to observe guidelines of keeping a distance of at least one metre between each person. 

Madrid has been the worst hit in Spain, recording a total of 4,665 cases, more than half nationwide.

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