As of Thursday, 11 March, Finnish State Railways VR will require all passengers on board its trains to wear masks, with an exemption for individuals who have medical conditions precluding their use.
The mask requirement will be in force on all VR long-distance and some commuter trains (D, G, M, R, T and Z), which operate between Helsinki and Lahti, Tampere and Lahti.
According to VR, its latest customer survey found 65.5 percent of respondents were in favour of mandatory mask use by passengers.
VR will add a mask requirement to its terms of service no later than on 11.3.
According to VR, passengers who cannot use masks for reasons of personal health will still be welcome on its trains. No proof of disability will be required.
"We have managed to keep the trains really safe throughout the coronavirus crisis. No outbreaks have been detected on the trains among customers, nor among our staff, and we want the situation to remain just as good during these last months of the pandemic. According to the Technical Research Centre of Finland and international studies, the risk of getting infected on public transport is very low when using a mask. With the lockdowns that started this week, we feel it is natural and responsible to introduce a mask requirement for all our trains," said Topi Simola, VR's Director of Passenger Traffic, in a Wednesday press release.
Helsinki Regional Transport, which operates commuter trains other than VR's D, G, M, R, T and Z services, says it is continuing to advise passengers to use masks on all public transport. It also intends to increase its mask-related information services at stations and on public transport vehicles.