Grand River Transit buses to return to full capacity on Labour Day

A Grand River Transit bus travelling eastbound on King Street West beside the Grand River Hospital ION LRT station in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

A large portion of bus service in Waterloo Region will return to normal next week after having limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning on Sept. 7, Grand River Transit (GRT) buses will no longer operate with a limited capacity, a Waterloo Region official told Global News.

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“GRT introduced COVID-related precautions at the beginning of the pandemic,” Peter Zinck, director of transit services, said in an email. “At the same time, we also implemented a series of service reductions due to reduced ridership.”

One such precaution was to limit the number of riders on buses in an attempt to provide physical distancing.

But with more people returning to work all the time, this has created issues.

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“In August, the system was experiencing between 30-40 buses each day that reach the capacity limits and impact customers as they are occasionally by-passed,” Zinck said.

“Starting on September 7 we are restoring much of the service which was reduced. This will provide additional capacity on many routes.“

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He said customers’ wide acceptance of masks has made physical distancing less of a concern.

“GRT will continue our enhanced cleaning regimes of daily cleaning of frequently touched surfaces on trains, buses and stations as well anti-microbial treatment on all buses, weekly fogging of trains, more frequent ventilation filter replacement,” Zinck said.

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He says the transit service is keeping a close watch on ridership and has spare vehicles ready to dispatch if the need arises.

There will be a host of other changes implemented on Sept. 7 that will see service changes for both buses and ION LRT vehicles, which can be seen on the GRT website.

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