BC Transit has outlined the precautions it is putting in place to align with B.C.’s Restart Plan and ensure the safety of its passengers and staff during the COVID-19 crisis.
In a release today, the transit operator said it would continue with many of the safety measures already in place to respond to the pandemic, as well as implementing additional procedures following the guidance of B.C.’s provincial health officer and drawing on best practices from the global transit industry.
“BC Transit is proud to provide transportation services our customers can rely on as we move into Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan,” said BC Transit president and CEO Erinn Pinkerton in the release. “Our team is committed to putting the safety of our customers, employees, and communities as our top priority.”
BC Transit, which will resume front-door loading and fare collection on June 1, said it “will continue to target a comfortable capacity on buses, which may result in buses being full and customers could experience pass-ups.” The operator is encouraging riders to visit NextRide (available at nextride.whistler.bctransit.com for Whistler) to check for capacity in advance of boarding and try to travel at non-peak times when possible.
In a follow-up email, a BC Transit spokesperson clarified that drivers will use discretion on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate passenger capacity. "For example, the driver can evaluate if there are families on the bus sitting together and other space available," the spokesperson said.
Riders will also be required to maintain a one-way passenger flow, meaning they will board at the front of the bus and exit at the rear—except for passengers with mobility aids, who will be permitted to exit through the front door.
Passengers are encouraged to wear face coverings, both on the bus and at bus stops, when physical distancing is not possible.
BC Transit said it would also be accelerating the timeline for the installation of full protective driver doors on its fleet.
“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 Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in the release. “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.”
Measures already in place due to COVID-19 that will continue are: enhanced cleaning and sanitization on buses and transit facilities; additional personal protective equipment for handyDART transit operators; communicating to staff and riders about safe behaviours; and continuing rear-door loading and ceasing fare collection until May 31.
For more information, visit BCTransit.com/covid19.