Hans Rat on the future of the rail sector | Fleetshield
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Hans Rat on the future of the rail sector

“With the mounting pressure on operations, a company like Fleetshield that takes the load off your hands is becoming increasingly important”

Hans Rat, former Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), is a household name in the public transport sector. A sector that has gone through turbulent years thanks to COVID. Budgets are under pressure due to the congestion on the tracks. Nevertheless, Hans sees a bright future for public transport. Especially with the help of parties that take the worry out of it, such as Fleetshield.

Growth of public transport

“With all the problems we face – energy shortages, climate change, congestion on the roads and in the cities – public transport cannot help but grow again,” he contends. “Especially now that the self-driving car is not proving to be the solution to traffic congestion and more and more car-free neighbourhoods are being created. In the future, people will start using public transport again more and more. Simply because there is no other way.”

Pressure on operations

Nevertheless, the rail sector has to deal with important issues. Hans: “The increasingly intensive use of infrastructure is putting pressure on the operations of transportation companies. More and more trains have to use the existing infrastructure. There are already routes where an intercity train passes every 10 minutes”. After a pause, he continues: “Because of this pressure on operations, train maintenance has to be carried out in the shortest possible time. And preferably in such a way that passengers are not inconvenienced.”

“When I met Jeroen van Son from Fleetshield, a world opened up for me”

Protecting rail materials

Fleetshield knows this and is familiar with the processes at transportation companies and rail manufacturers. Drawing on that knowledge, experts help protect trains, trams and metros in the best and most efficient way possible against, for example, graffiti, scratches and etching. Fleetshield also streamlines maintenance processes to keep downtime to a minimum. Fleetshield can also calculate the most cost-effective solution for protecting rail materials based on the total cost of ownership. This is exactly the kind of solution that will take the burden off their shoulders and that the rail sector could do with, says Hans Rat: “After all, it is becoming increasingly important to get the most out of budgets.”

Advantages of wrapping trains

Fleetshield introduced Hans to the unrivalled possibilities that film offers for protecting rail materials. “When I met Jeroen van Son from Fleetshield, a whole new world opened up for me. Normally, rail companies spray paint rolling stock during maintenance. This works fine if you use standard colours over large areas without too much detail. But what if you want to work with different colours or apply complex patterns? That’s impossible with paint, but not with film. It can be supplied with any print you want. In large or small runs”. Which offers another advantage.

“By wrapping trains, trams or metros, rail materials are transformed into a communication tool”

Thematising trains, trams and metros

Hans explains that Fleetshield has already helped numerous operators to make an impact on several occasions. During special events, for example, the protection expert helped operators transform a normal train into a thematic one such as Tin Tin, Tour de France, Olympics and even a special JP Gaultier Thalys.  “By wrapping trains, trams or metros, Fleetshield transforms rail materials into a visual communication tool,” says Hans. “As a result, rail materials can also be used to provide passenger information. For example, to encourage people to walk further up the platform or to board at a particular point. This is an opportunity that, in my opinion, is still vastly underused.”

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