Fare collection, front door boarding to start Aug. 19: London Transit Commission

A London Transit bus waits at the Argyle Plaza bus terminal on July 19, 2017. (Matthew Trevithick/AM980). Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

The London Transit Commission (LTC) says passengers can begin boarding at the front of the bus on conventional service and resume paying fares on both conventional and specialized services starting next Wednesday, Aug. 19.

The LTC implemented a rear-boarding policy and stopped collecting fares on March 20 as part of efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. At the end of July, the LTC said that fare collection would resume no later than Sept. 1, depending on how quickly new driver barriers could be installed.

Read more: ‘We can do better than Sept. 1’: London transit chair pushes for quick return to fare collection

“With the installation of the Operator barriers,” general manager Kelly Paleczny said in a statement Tuesday, “the return to front door boarding on our Conventional service is now possible. Passengers will be required to enter through the front door and exit through the back door to promote a one-direction flow.”

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Passengers with accessibility needs are still able to use the front door to exit.

As for fare options, the LTC says monthly passes will not be available for August, but tickets, cash, or stored value on a Smart Card will be accepted between Aug. 19 and 31. Transfers will be issued as required.

“A reminder that stored value works like tickets and that transfers are automatically loaded on to the card,” Paleczny said.

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Monthly passes for September will be available for purchase starting Aug. 15 and passengers are encouraged to load these online if possible.

The LTC says all fare options are available at its two London Transit locations, 150 Dundas St. and 450 Highbury Ave.

The Dundas location, west of Richmond Street, is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Highbury location, between Brydges and Trafalgar streets, is open 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Those purchasing youth or income-related passes also have the option of buying them at City Hall, Citi Plaza, Canada Games Aquatic Centre, and the South London Community Pool.

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The pandemic has had a massive financial impact on the LTC.

In late July, Paleczny told Global News that the LTC was looking at a shortfall through the end of July at about $8.7million. At that time, city councillor and LTC chair Phil Squire also noted that even the return to fare collection won’t mean a complete return to normal, as ridership levels will remain impacted, in large part due to changes Western University and Fanshawe College have made to address the pandemic, which are expected to impact student ridership levels.

Click to play video: 'STM returns to enforcing its ticket validation and front-door boarding on buses' STM returns to enforcing its ticket validation and front-door boarding on buses
STM returns to enforcing its ticket validation and front-door boarding on buses – Aug 10, 2020

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