Buses at the BC Transit depot awaiting scans to ensure proper fits for the full driver doors. (Evan Taylor/News Staff)

BC Transit starts outfitting Vancouver Island buses with driver safety doors

The $6.5 million project will see all buses equipped with the new doors by the end of 2020

Citing safety as its top priority BC Transit is equipping buses with full driver doors. The doors create more of an enclosure for the drivers, creating a barrier between them and riders.

The project started this year and will continue throughout 2020. The first bus testing them rolled out Thursday, Oct. 3 in Victoria.

READ MORE: Protective doors for BC Transit drivers coming later this year

Communications Manager for BCT, Jonathon Dyck says newer buses will not need to go through this process.

“Retrofitting is underway with all the buses being scanned, from now on any new buses will come with the full driver doors already equipped.

The enclosures offer the drivers more physical protection and also help with riders trying to speak with drivers while operating a bus, says Dyck.

“It changes the dynamic between riders and operators, that will take time to get used to but in the end, it will improve safety.”

The retrofitting process is quite time-consuming. Each bus needs to be digitally scanned as buses manufactured in different years could have minor variations in dimensions. The process takes two hours per bus to ensure accuracy.

Each retrofit is estimated to cost approximately $10,000. The cost of the whole project is $6.5 million.

The installation of the doors on the buses being retrofitted will all be handled by BC Transit. All installations on new buses will be done by the doors manufacturers AROW Global Corporations. The cost of installations on new buses is not included in the $6.5 million figure.

READ MORE: BC Transit launches GPS bus tracking system across Greater Victoria

In Victoria, there are 186 buses that qualify for retrofitting, in all of B.C., there are 650. Buses that are due to go out of service in the next two years will not be equipped with the doors.

The retrofitting to be done in Victoria is set to be completed by early 2020, at which point they will begin installations on Kelowna based buses.

evan.taylor@vicnews.com


@evanrtaylor
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