NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — TransLink is asking people to wear a mask or face covering while on or waiting for transit as part of a new plan to increase safety while pre-pandemic service levels are restored.
“Our view on that is that if we can have a large amount of people or most people on board SkyTrain and bus wearing face coverings, then that is going to be a safer experience for everyone. Because of course, physical distancing on transit is not always going to be possible,” Ben Murphy, with TransLink, said Thursday at the unveiling of the Safe Operating Action plan.
He added riders will have to use their own masks, for now, as TransLink is still looking for a partner to supply them.
Among other changes, Murphy said cleaning pit crews of up to four members will start on SkyTrain cars and at key stations starting June 1. The crews will use hospital-grade disinfectant to wipe down high-touch surfaces during rush hours, he said.
More cleaning, more service and recommending masks as part of our Safe Operating Action Plan
— News from TransLink (@TransLinkNews) May 21, 2020
On bus and SeaBus, spray treatments will increase to twice a week in addition to daily cleaning schedules.
To support physical distancing, TransLink will also limit customer access to SkyTrain platforms. Only one fare gate will be set as an entrance, while the others will be for exiting only.
“So that will limit the amount of people who will be able to tap through those SkyTrain fare gates and reach the platform,” Murphy said, “therefore limiting the amount of people that are on SkyTrains, as well.”
At busier stations, Murphy said two gates may be designated for entry.
He added the action plan will change over time.
TransLink will also install decals two metres apart at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.
It is also restoring service across all modes to add more capacity, including routes which were previously reduced. Service will be operating at nearly the same levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to TransLink.
The transit authority will also monitor passenger loads in order to deploy additional service at times and on routes where physical distancing is more difficult.