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Wear a mask on transit, says TransLink in unveiling 'enhanced' measures

TransLink unveiled “new and enhanced measures” Thursday morning aimed at making transit service safer during the COVID-19 pandemic
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TransLink buses are cleaned daily and sprayed with a disinfectant once a week. Photo courtesy TransLink

TransLink unveiled “new and enhanced measures” Thursday morning aimed at making transit service safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures come with a recommendation that all transit riders wear masks.

“Over the next several weeks, customers will notice changes at transit stations and on vehicles designed to improve sanitization, create space where possible, and enhance personal safety,” said a TransLink news release. “TransLink’s initiatives, many of which have been taken since the beginning of the pandemic, are now part of a Safe Operating Action Plan. This plan will be implemented in phases to meet the needs of our customers as B.C.’s economy re-starts.”

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TransLink buses are cleaned daily and sprayed with a disinfectant once a week. Photo courtesy TransLink

TransLink has listed the following measures it is taking:

Increased Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Deploying cleaning “pit crews” to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high traffic stations.
  • Increasing bus and SeaBus disinfecting sprays to twice per week in addition to daily cleaning schedules.
  • Maintaining daily cleaning and disinfecting schedules on SkyTrain and West Coast Express cars, as well as HandyDART vehicles.

Managing Physical Space

  • Limiting fare gate access at busy stations to help manage the number of customers on SkyTrain.
  • Installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.

Adding Service to Create More Space

  • Restoring service across all modes to add more capacity, including to routes which were previously reduced. Service will be operating at nearly the same levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Monitoring passenger loads in order to deploy additional service at times and on routes where physical distancing is more difficult.

TransLink has also made several recommendations for transit riders.

  • Stay off the system if you are sick.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or on-board our vehicles.
  • Travel outside of peak times when possible. This is especially recommended for vulnerable people.
  • Allow more time for your commute.

“Public Health and WorkSafeBC are working with transit agencies to ensure all reasonable steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, it’s clear that maintaining a safe physical distance may not be possible in every situation,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, in a statement. “We recommend all passengers consider wearing a face covering while using public transit, especially during those instances where physical distancing may not be possible. We also ask the public to be patient during this challenging transition period and we are grateful to British Columbia’s transit agencies for doing everything possible to protect the public during these changing times.”

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