BC Transit has reported between 50% to 70% decrease in ridership amid school and business closures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the latest update, transit drivers will be monitoring passenger capacity based on direction from BC Transit operations.
“This will allow additional space in-between customers, and provide space for people to move within the bus if they feel necessary,” reads a statement from the crown corporation.
In a clarification to Victoria Buzz, media spokesperson Jonathon Dyck confirms that BC Transit will not be blocking out seats to indicate which seats can be used by passengers to best follow physical distancing directives – a measure that has been adopted by TransLink in Metro Vancouver.
BC Transit will not be adopting that step as they want to “allow families and those living in the same household to still be together on the bus.”
Til date, the transit company has seen up to 70% decrease in ridership due to the closure of schools, post secondary institutions, and a large number of businesses and government agencies.
So far, BC Transit has implemented the following measures:
- Rear door loading, except for those with accessible needs
- Not collecting fares
- Enhancing the red line for customers to remain behind to provide physical distance from the operator
- Promoting good etiquette on transit for physical distance including providing space for other customers and checking passenger loads before traveling.
The company says it will make adjustments to route schedules based on regional requirements and availability.
“We are continuing to be there for those that need transportation services including people going to work at healthcare facilities and other critical services, and going for a weekly grocery trip.”
Based on the latest updates, there are now 725 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 52 on Vancouver Island.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.
Trudeau also announced a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses and a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses, interest-free for the first year.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 584,992.
Over 26,800 people have died from the illness and 131,428 have made a full recovery.