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TransLink warns rising demand will make physical distancing ‘not always possible'

TransLink has issued some guidelines for best practices for safely using Vancouver's trains and buses
transit
Photo by Dan Toulgoet/Vancouver Courier

With demand for transit on the rise again in Metro Vancouver, TransLink is warning that riders shouldn’t expect physical distancing at all times.

On Monday, June 1, Coast Mountain Bus Company will resume fare collection and front-door boarding on buses throughout the region. Bus seating restrictions will also be “eased,” said TransLink in a news release, and buses will be able to accommodate approximately two-thirds capacity before being deemed full.

“The increase in passenger capacity on buses will allow CMBC to accommodate the growing number of customers who are returning to the transit system, in alignment with British Columbia’s Restart Plan,” says the news release. “CMBC has restored bus schedules to what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic to add as much capacity as possible. However, with bus ridership increasing by more than 30% over the past month, demand cannot be met with the current seating arrangements. These necessary steps are being taken following the installation of temporary plexiglass extension barriers or vinyl barriers on all buses to protect transit operators.”

As a result, “physical distancing will not always be possible on transit” and that’s why TransLink is encouraging customers to take the following steps to protect themselves and their fellow passengers:

  • Do not take transit when sick.
  • Travel at off-peak times whenever possible.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting for or taking transit if you’re able to do so.
  • Use bus seating when possible so operators can best estimate the number of customers on board.
  • Allow more time for your commute.

As part of the Safe Operating Action Plan announced last week, CMBC has doubled bus disinfecting sprays to twice per week in addition to daily cleaning schedules. Customers will also notice changes at transit hubs designed to create space where possible, including installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.

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