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Coronavirus: TransLink halts fare collection on buses, asks riders to use rear doors

TransLink makes major changes to Metro Vancouver bus operations due to coronavirus pandemic
WATCH: TransLink makes major changes to Metro Vancouver bus operations due to coronavirus pandemic

Effective Friday, TransLink says it is suspending fare collection on buses and will be asking passengers to board through rear doors only in an effort to promote social distancing.

Fares will still apply on other TransLink modes such as SkyTrain and SeaBus.

B.C. health officials hold March 18 coronavirus update
B.C. health officials hold March 18 coronavirus update

The announcement comes a day after B.C.’s provincial health officer hinted at changes to rapid transit.

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Public transit is considered an essential service, and Dr. Bonnie Henry had said TransLink should prevent passengers from sitting near drivers when possible, increase cleaning of buses and trains, and launch an awareness campaign to promote hygiene and social distancing.

Challenges of social distancing during coronavirus pandemic
Challenges of social distancing during coronavirus pandemic

Customers with mobility issues will still be able to board through the front doors.

TransLink says services have had fewer passengers in recent days due to the pandemic, allowing for more social distancing.

On Tuesday, March 17 total boardings were down 52 per cent compared to the same date last year. Canada Line boardings were down 59 per cent, SeaBus ridership declined 69 per cent, and West Coast Express ridership dropped 70 per cent.

BC Transit also said it will stop collecting fares and direct passengers to the rear doors on buses in Victoria and Nanaimo for the next 30 days.

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