BC Transit, which includes locally operated Nelson Transit, Trail Transit and Arrow & Slocan Lakes Community Service, is gearing up to respond to COVID-19 by implementing additional practices and procedures to align with BC’s Restart Plan.
In a media release Thursday, BC Transit said the company would restart under the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafeBC as well as drawing on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide.
“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 Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Our team is committed to putting the safety of our customers, employees, and communities as our top priority.”
BC Transit said it company will continue with many of the safety measures implemented in March 2020 when COVID-19 forced many operations in the province took strong measures to ensure public safety during the pandemic.
As restrictions begin to lift across the province, select sectors open back up, and people gradually return to engaging in some of the activities some of those measures will continue, as well as additional policies to guarantee public safety.
Measures already in place that will continue include:
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitization on buses and at BC Transit facilities
- Rear door loading and ceasing fare collection until May 31, 2020
- Additional personal protective equipment for handyDART transit operators
- Communication to staff and customers to encourage behaviours that contribute to the safety of themselves, our operators and fellow passengers
New measures will include:
- Capacity management, including keeping buses at a comfortable load
- BC Transit will continue to target a comfortable capacity on buses, which may result in buses being full and customers could experience pass ups
- BC Transit is encouraging customers to use NextRide to check for capacity in advance of boarding and attempt to travel at non-peak times as much as possible
- The use of face coverings will be encouraged on buses and at bus stops where physical distancing is not possible
- Protective barriers for operators in the form of vinyl panels or full driver doors
- One way passenger flow entering through the front of the bus and exiting through the rear of the bus
- An exception will be made for customers with mobility aids to exit through the front of the bus
- Resuming front door loading and fare collection effective June 1, 2020
- Timeline for installation of full driver door protective barriers on buses will be accelerated
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer said 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, Dr. Henry added it’s clear that maintaining a safe physical distance may not be possible in every situation.
“We recommend all passengers consider wearing a face covering while using public transit, especially during those instances where physical distancing may not be possible,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer said.
“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.”
BC Transit said it continues to provide a reliable transportation system for the public.
As BC Transit moves through the phases of BC’s Restart Plan, the company will work with our partners to adjust or implement measures based on advice from the Provincial Health Officer.
“Public transit has been an essential service through the initial response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we appreciate the work of our transit agencies and transit operators to keep these services running,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.
“Public transit will be key to British Columbia’s recovery success, and we are working closely with BC Transit to ensure people can continue to access this important service – to get to where they need to go.”
For more information, please visit BCTransit.com/covid19 or call your local transit office.