Signs indicating seats which are closed to promote physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic are pictured on a public transit bus in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, May 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. transit agencies encourage face masks, step up sanitizing as Phase Two begins

TransLink, BC Transit will both begin to collect fares again on June 1

Transit agencies across the province are adapting to the ‘new normal’ as B.C. enters Phase Two of its reopening plan.

BC Transit said Thursday that “use of face coverings will be encouraged on buses and at bus stops,” in line with just-released face mask recommendations from the federal government.

In Metro Vancouver, TransLink said riders could “enhance their personal safety and that of fellow passengers” by wearing a non-medical mask. People who do not need to travel during peak times, especially those at higher risk for the virus, are being asked to travel at less busy times.

Both transit authorities have committed to keeping buses well below capacity to help passengers adhere to physical distancing guidelines and have riders enter through the front doors and leave through the back where possible. Both BC Transit and Translink will again begin collecting fares on June 1.

Both have already begun installing plexiglass or vinyl barriers to protect bus drivers and will provide them with PPE, as well as step up current sanitizing measures, including more frequent cleanings and applications of disinfectant sprays.

In a statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province was working with transit agencies to ensure “reasonable” steps are being take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We recommend all passengers consider wearing a face covering while using public transit, especially during those instances where physical distancing may not be possible,” Henry said.

READ MORE: TransLink returns to near-normal operations after COVID-19 leads to drop in ridership

READ MORE: TransLink, BC Transit to resume collecting fares June 1 after installing new barriers


@katslepian

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