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No more free ride as TransLink to resume fare collection in Metro Vancouver

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — Transit users in Metro Vancouver will have to start paying bus fares again starting June 1.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — Transit users in Metro Vancouver will have to start paying bus fares again starting June 1.

TransLink, the authority responsible for regional transportation, says fare collection and front-door boarding on buses will resume next month, although physical distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 remain in place.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says in a statement that Plexiglas or vinyl barriers will be installed on buses to ensure the safety of drivers.

Fare collection was halted in mid-March and passengers were required to board buses by rear doors and use only designated seats as the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus climbed in B.C.

Given the current low number of transit users, Desmond says fares should add about $2 million per month to TransLink coffers, but the statement says TransLink is still losing as much as $75 million a month. 

As a cost-saving measure, 41 bus route suspensions or trip reductions are set to take effect in two weeks, on top of the 14 route suspensions announced since last month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2020

The Canadian Press