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Coronavirus: B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement

Click to play video 'B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement' B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement
An Okanagan bus driver has had enough of riders not following the province-wide mandatory mask policy.

An Okanagan bus driver has had enough of riders not following the province-wide mandatory mask policy.

An emotional plea was made by Kelowna bus driver Les Biggar.

“We need to park the bus until (the government) mandates it, because this is our lives, our families, our co-workers. Wake up,” Biggar told Global News on Saturday.

He’s fed up with passengers not complying with BC Transit’s mandatory mask policy.

“They’re still not wearing a mask,” Biggar said. 

“When you stop them at the door and they put it on — they’re not happy and as soon as they get by you, they take it off.”

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Read more: Fist fight breaks out on Surrey bus after man refuses to put on mask: police

The Okanagan bus operator believes more power should be given to bus drivers to enforce the mandatory mask policy.

He says if bus drivers can get the authority to enforce the policy, it could prevent aggressive and even violent situations from happening.

There have been such incidents in the province: a fight in Surrey broke out in September when one passenger asked another to wear a mask, and there was a spitting and shoving episode in Vancouver in October when one passenger reportedly also asked another to cover up.

Read more: Video shows woman shoved off Vancouver bus after she spits on passenger

BC Transit did offer a statement on enforcement of the policy stemming from Thursday’s provincial health order which mandates masks in all indoor public spaces.

The agency noted there are medical exceptions to the policy and that “transit supervisors and managers will now have authority to enforce compliance with the assistance of local authorities.” 

Most people that Global News spoke with agreed that bus drivers should have the authority to enforce the policy.

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“I believe they should have that power, they should have the right to do that. They are putting their lives in jeopardy and their operating a service to the public,” Kelowna resident Mike Taylor said. 

“You know when you’re on the bus there’s people coughing, sneezing. Why shouldn’t he have the authority to police his own bus,” Kelowna resident Wendy Letwinetz said. 

Click to play video 'Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate' Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces B.C. mask mandate