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TransLink says ridership up 85 per cent from peak of pandemic

A Skytrain is pictured in Burnaby, B.C. Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
A Skytrain is pictured in Burnaby, B.C. Tuesday, April 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

New ridership data from TransLink shows Metro Vancouver residents are returning to the transit system as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The agency says system-wide boardings in the first week of June have climbed by 85 per cent since the second week of April.

READ MORE: TransLink ups bus capacity to two-thirds, begins collecting fares Monday

“I’m very pleased to see our customers gradually returning to the transit system,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a media release.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure our customers have confidence in transit by developing the Safe Operating Action Plan, which keeps our services as safe and reliable as possible.”

Additional cleaning and physical distancing measures coming to Metro Vancouver transit
Additional cleaning and physical distancing measures coming to Metro Vancouver transit

The week of April 5 to 11 was the low-point of transit use during the coronavirus pandemic, with just under 1.4 million boardings across the system.

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For the week of May 31 to une 6, TransLink says it recorded nearly 2.6 million boardings system-wide.

Boardings on West Coast Express were up a whopping 200 per cent, while SeaBus boardings were up 130 per cent.

Canada Line boardings were up 103 per cent, Expo and Millennium line boardings were up 87 per cent, and bus boardings were up 81 per cent, said TransLink.

TransLink increased passenger capacity and resumed front-door boarding and fare collection on buses on June 1.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: TransLink warns of further cuts if no government financial help received

It has implemented new safety measures, including increased cleaning and sanitization and fare gate restrictions.

It is also advising passengers to wear non-medical masks when physical distancing can not be maintained.

Reduced ridership has seriously affected TransLink’s revenue, with the agency projecting in April that it could face a $570 million to $680 million shortfall by year’s end.

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