TransLink is moving to limit seating on buses in Metro Vancouver to enforce physical distancing rules during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The transit and transportation agency says the new rules will come into effect next week.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has banned gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered people to maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) in public.
“Roughly half the seats on board buses will have signage installed to indicate that those seats are to be left vacant, which will allow for extra space between customers,” said TransLink in a media release.
“If the new seated capacity is reached, bus operators will not make any further stops to collect passengers, who will have to wait for the next bus.”
TransLink has already slashed service levels amid massively declining ridership as Metro Vancouverites stay home to practise social distancing.
The agency says it expects travel times will be affected on many routes, given the new seating restrictions and reduced schedule.
Commuters are being asked to build extra time into their trips in anticipation of the change, particularly during rush hour.
TransLink has already implemented several measures to deal with the virus.
Buses are no longer accepting payment, and passengers are being asked to board by the rear doors.
TransLink has already restricted seating near drivers, and is speeding up its installation of protective barriers for transit operators.
The agency says it has also boosted cleaning on buses, SeaBuses and SkyTrain.View link »