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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We’ve launched our Safe Operating Action Plan which outlines measures to keep Metro Vancouver moving safely as British Columbia’s economy restarts. Customers will notice several changes at stations and on vehicles designed to improve sanitation, promote physical distancing, and avoid overcrowding where possible, as outlined throughout this page. Please check back often for updates as we continue to evolve our response strategies.

May 21: An Open Letter to our Customers

This week marks a new chapter in British Columbia’s response to COVID-19.

As we turn the page, TransLink is stepping up to support Phase 2 of British Columbia’s Restart Plan.

Throughout the pandemic, thousands of essential workers have relied on our services every day. Over the coming weeks and months, we expect that many of our customers will be returning to the transit system as they go back to work, to school, and to get to the people and places that matter to them.

That’s why we are announcing new and enhanced measures today to improve safety and meet the needs of you, our customers.

In the weeks ahead, you will start to notice changes at transit stations and on vehicles designed to improve sanitization, create physical space where possible, and enhance your safety.

These initiatives, many of which have been taken since the beginning of the pandemic, are now part of the Safe Operating Action Plan. This plan will be implemented in phases to meet the needs of our customers as B.C.’s economy restarts.

One of the key things you will see is an increase in our cleaning and sanitization efforts. We have already implemented regular spray disinfection on our vehicles as well as daily cleaning on SkyTrain. Now, we will deploy cleaning “pit crews” to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high-traffic stations and we are doubling the spray disinfection of buses and SeaBuses to twice a week.

To help reduce the number of people on any given SkyTrain, we are going to limit the flow through fare gates at busy SkyTrain stations. This might mean you can’t make the train just entering a station, but please remember that the next train is only minutes away.

We will also be adding service to create more opportunities for space. This includes restoring service to nearly the same levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic on many routes. And please take transit off-peak if you can.

Safety on transit will take all of us working together.

To help keep yourself and your fellow passengers safe, please wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or travelling on transit. And please stay home if you are sick.

It’s no secret that, like everyone else, the past few months have been a challenge for our organization. We have had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances due to the pandemic.

As our customers gradually return to their daily routines over the coming weeks and months, we want you to know that we are here for you and are ready to welcome you back.

At TransLink, we have adopted a saying: Together all the way. It means that we are here to help our customers reach their destinations and get home again – safely, reliably and affordably. Today, it also means we are working together – all of us – to get us all the way through this pandemic period and ensure our transit service is here for you as we restart the economy and bring some normalcy back to our lives.

Thank you again for your trust and support.

Signature for Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO 

Kevin Desmond
CEO, TransLink


How To Use Transit Right Now

Passengers physical distancing by standing on the designated markers at the 99B-Line bus stop.

We are encouraging a few changes in how you use transit to ensure physical distancing is respected and everyone feels safe. Find some tips below on how to use the system now.

 

Physical Distancing

SkyTrain
Fare gates will be limited to enter or exit only to support physical distancing on platforms and trains. Please follow fare gate directional signage to use the appropriate gate.

Bus
Please sit only in unmarked seats. Once restricted capacity is reached, the bus will not pick up any further passengers.

SeaBus
SeaBus will run at half-capacity. Please board using the turnstiles at the terminals to ensure each vessel abides by the capacity limit.

Bus stops and station entranceways
Please stand on the 2 metre spaced decals while waiting to enter SkyTrain stations or for the next bus.


Safety Tips

Tip #1 – Transit etiquette

Transit Etiquette 

Stay home when unwell, avoid touching your face, cough/sneeze into your elbow and disinfect your hands often using hand-sanitizer dispensers at various hubs across the transit system.

Tip #2 - Timing is key

Travel off peak hours 

Please travel during non-busy times. Refer to the peak periods when travelling, so space remains available for essential service workers.

Tip #3 - Plan your trip

Plan your trip 

Use the Trip Planner to plan your trips in advance and allow for extra travel time.

Tip #4 - Bus fares & boarding

Bus Fares and Boarding 

Beginning June 1, front-door boarding and fare collection will resume on all buses.

Tip #5 - Physical distance

Physical distancing 

Please maintain physical distance from other passengers and transit staff when possible and follow our physical distancing markers where outlined.

Tip #6 - Wear a face covering

Wear a face covering 

For everyone’s safety, please wear a face covering when riding transit. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used.

Tip #7 - Active transportation

Bike as an active transportation 

Walking or cycling are great for your health, the environment, and help reduce congestion in transit and on the road. Visit the Active Transportation Options page for more.

Tip #9 - Submit feedback and suggestions

Submit Feedback 

Use the Feedback Form or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Tip #10 - Please be patient

Please be patient  

If all bus seats are taken, please wait for the next bus. If you can't maintain physical distancing on SkyTrain, West Coast Express or SeaBus, please wait until safe space is available.


Peak Periods

Weekday peak periods:

  • Morning: 5:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.

  • Afternoon: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday peak periods:

  • Morning: 6:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.

  • Afternoon: 2 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Sunday peak periods:

  • Morning: 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.

  • Afternoon: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Alerts & Advisories

Sign-up for Transit Alerts to receive an email or SMS message whenever one of your favourite routes have changed.

Trip Planner

For detailed information on our modified schedules, plan a trip or browse any of the affected routes in our Trip Planner.



How We’re Keeping the System Clean

  • Cleaning Pit Crews: We’ve deployed cleaning “pit crews” to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high traffic stations. Pit crews will be stationed at major hubs to disinfect high-touch surfaces on trains during peak hours. Crews will also clean on board trains between stations. 

  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting schedules:  Across SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART vehicles we’ll be performing daily cleaning routines including a disinfectant spray down of poles, seats, ceilings, handles, windows, sills, and all other high touch surfaces. 

  • Increasing bus and SeaBus disinfection schedules: Vehicles and vessels will be spray disinfected twice per week, in addition to daily cleaning schedules. 


TransLink Live Chat

Have any questions? Try Live Chat. Our Transit Information & Compass Customer Service teams are working hard to assist customers during this challenging time. Due to increased call volumes, customers are encouraged to try Live Chat as a faster alternative to our phone lines. Live Chat is available from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

Start a Live Chat session...


Updates

Updated: May 28, 2020 - 2:45 p.m.

May 28: TransLink's Safe Operating Action Plan

TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan introduces new and enhanced measures to make transit safer and available for those who need it.

This plan will evolve and change over time to meet the needs of our customers as B.C.’s economy re-starts.

Over the next several weeks, customers will notice changes at transit stations and on vehicles designed to improve sanitization, create space where possible, and enhance personal safety.

Improving cleaning and sanitizing on transit.

  • Deploying cleaning “pit crews” to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high traffic stations.

  • Increasing bus and SeaBus disinfecting sprays to twice per week in addition to daily cleaning schedules.

  • Maintaining daily cleaning and disinfecting schedules on SkyTrain and West Coast Express cars, as well as HandyDART vehicles.

Creating space where possible:

  • Limiting fare gate access at busy stations (we will typically have only one entry fare gate open at each array) to limit the number of customers coming onto SkyTrain platforms.

    • This policy will become more effective as SkyTrain ridership returns.

Limiting the capacity on buses to approximately two thirds full:

  • We’re asking customers to use bus seating when possible so operators can best estimate the number of customers on board.

  • If the new capacity is reached, bus operators will not make further stops to collect passengers.

  • Installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help customers with physical distancing.

Updating our recommendations to customers:

  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or on-board our vehicles and transit system.

    • This recommendation only applies to those who are able to wear a mask.

  • Stay off the system if you they are feeling ill.

  • Travel outside of peak times when possible. This is especially recommended for vulnerable people.

  • Allow more time for your commute.

  • Service levels are currently being reviewed in order to ensure we can efficiently move people around the region while still allowing for physical distancing.

    • Adding more service can provide more space which will help with physical distancing.

  • TransLink has limited seating on board buses and installed decals to space out passengers at key stations and transit hubs around the system.

  • Customers will find there are more opportunities for physical distancing outside of rush hours.

  • TransLink will continue to consult with Public Health and other transit agencies to ensure we are following best practices.

TransLink and its operating companies will suspend the service reductions planned to begin on May 18 and rescind layoff notices issued to approximately 1,500 employees.

The Province and TransLink are working on a comprehensive solution to address the major financial impacts that TransLink has incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TransLink will review all transit service levels to ensure it is balancing the need to help people get around the region, with the need to maintain and respect enhanced safety protocols.

Further service and safety-related announcements will be made in due course.

Beginning June 1, front-door boarding and fare collection on all buses will resume.

  • TransLink will be upgrading and modifying barriers on buses to protect the health and safety of our operators.

    • We are working to install an additional temporary plexiglass extension barrier on our conventional buses that are currently equipped with protection barriers.

    • The remainder of the fleet will be installed with vinyl. This includes barriers on HandyDART, community shuttles, and highway coaches.

  • TransLink will continue to limit seating on buses to promote physical distancing.

    • Roughly half the seats on board buses have signage installed to indicate that those seats are to be left vacant.

    • If new seated capacity is reached, operators will not make further stops to collect passengers, who will have to wait for the next bus.

All other updates (Prior to May 1)

TransLink is losing $75 million each month and has been forced to reduce transit services across all modes. We are continuing to push for funding from senior levels of government.

SkyTrain Station Attendants and Transit Police are now limiting the amount of people boarding trains at some stations in order to maintain physical distancing for passengers on board.

  • This does mean that in some instances there will be lineups during rush hours, particularly at our busier stations.

  • We are asking SkyTrain customers to build in extra travel time and avoid the system during rush hours if they are not essential workers.

The difficult decision has been made to issue temporary layoff notices to 1,492 employees. These employees work in various positions at TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company, and British Columbia Rapid Transit Company

We expect these employees to be recalled once TransLink returns to regular operations, which we are now planning for back-to-school in September.

Given the difficulty being faced by the organization and our employees, TransLink’s senior executives and board of directors have reduced their pay by 10%.

TransLink is focused on maintaining as much service as possible for the approximately 75,000 people using the system each weekday. Many of these are essential and front-line workers. However, considering the current financial trajectory, service reductions across all modes will begin this week on routes with low ridership. Capacity will continue to be focused on the routes and times with continued high demand.

There are two waves of transit suspensions this week.

In-effect Wednesday, April 22

  • Expo and Millennium Lines: Will be reduced by 15-20% during peak times and by 20-40% in the middays, early evenings, and on weekends.

  • West Coast Express: Trains one, three and five will continue running with fewer cars. Trains two and four remain temporarily cancelled.

  • SeaBus: The last SeaBus sailing will happen at 7:30 p.m. from Lonsdale Quay and 7:45 p.m. from Waterfront. SeaBus will continue with sailings every 30-minutes

In-effect Friday, April 24

  • Bus: 18 bus routes will be suspended.

In-effect mid-May (Suspended)

  • Bus: 47 bus routes will be suspended, and frequency will be reduced on all remaining routes.

Transit Service Changes

For details, including the full list of cancelled bus routes and alternative travel options, please visit our Transit Service Changes page. 

TransLink Seeking Emergency Funding

TransLink is seeking emergency relief funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments to offset losses incurred for providing essential transit services during the pandemic.

  • TransLink is currently losing $75m per month.

  • Even during this pandemic, TransLink is still moving approximately 75,000 people every weekday, many of these people are essential service workers.

  • Emergency funding is necessary to ensure a reasonable level of essential service can be maintained while respecting safe physical distancing requirements.

  • Emergency funding is also necessary to ensure a rapid transition to full service can occur once the recovery phase begins.

U-Pass BC Program Suspended

  • Post-secondary institutions and student associations have worked with TransLink to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program as of May 1.

  • The U-Pass BC program is offered to students under agreements in place between TransLink, participating colleges and universities, and their associated student societies. Students pay for this pass through mandatory student fees.

  • In agreement with TransLink and student associations, the post-secondary institutions will be issuing refunds of the mandatory U-Pass BC fees for April 2020 to students who did not need to use their U-Pass BC. For simplicity, refunds will be issued to those students who did not use their pass for more than $41 in stored value travel. Please check your school or student association website for more information.

Recognizing the current economic and financial circumstances, the Mayors’ Council has endorsed the TransLink Board of Directors’ decision to postpone the scheduled fare increase for 2020. This means fares will not increase on July 1 as set out in the Phase Two Investment Plan.

Transit fares were scheduled to increase by 20 to 25 cents for single-use fares, 25 cents for DayPasses, and $3 to $5 for monthly passes.

TransLink staff will analyze several options and report back to the Board and Mayors’ Council with a new recommended schedule later this year.

 

TransLink has had cases of employees testing positive for COVID-19, whether they be confirmed by Public Health, of self-reported by individual employees. Following such notifications, any relevant vehicles and workspaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Public Health officials have given no indication that any of TransLink’s employee cases pose an elevated risk to the public at this time.

These employees have our full support and we wish them a speedy recovery. British Columbia has very strict privacy laws and whether to disclose any further details on these cases would be a matter for the Provincial Health Officer.

For more details on these cases, please see our Media Releases.

Customers can receive a refund or credit for the portion of their unused monthly parking passes. The issuance of monthly parking pass refunds or credits depend on the location and method of purchase.

We ask customers for their patience as we are experiencing a high volume of requests. We will follow up with each request as quickly as possible.

Due to the physical distancing required by health authorities in BC, bus operators will not be able to assist our wheelchair customers with being strapped in a front-facing position on our conventional buses.

Those with mobility devices on buses that have a rear facing accessible seat will be able to park in the designated area themselves and secure their device. This is the case for most buses. For buses that do not have this area, (e.g. highway coaches, Community Shuttle) customers with mobility devices will need to travel with someone who can assist them or find an alternate mode of travel.

A taxi can be provided in the event a customer in a wheelchair can't be accommodated on the bus.

Q&A's

Due to the physical distancing required by health authorities in BC, bus operators will not be able to assist our wheelchair customers with being strapped in a front-facing position on our conventional buses. For buses with front facing accessible seats (e.g. highway coaches, Community Shuttle), customers with mobility devices will need to travel with someone who can assist them or find an alternate mode of travel.

The bus fleet is comprised of various makes and models. We can’t say which bus type will be on each route with enough reliability to guarantee assistance strapping in wouldn’t be required.

HandyDART is different from the conventional system. Operators are in close contact with customers at several points during a trip, including while strapping in wheelchairs. We are working with our contractor and government to find solutions for them as well.

TransLink has limited seating on buses in Metro Vancouver to promote physical distancing. Roughly half the seats on board buses have signage installed to indicate that those seats are to be left vacant, which allow for extra space between customers. 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.

Given declining ridership is resulting in far fewer passengers on the system, it’s not expected these changes will impact travel times on the majority of bus routes. However, commuters who use busier routes should consider building in additional travel time and consider their need to travel, particularly during rush hours. Public transit remains crucial for thousands of essential service workers in the region, including those in the healthcare sector.

TransLink is also undertaking other initiatives to promote physical distancing:

  • Customers are being asked to board buses using the rear doors where possible, with the exception of those requiring mobility assistance.

  • Limiting seating on buses: To support physical distancing between passengers, bus seating will be limited and standing prohibited.

  • Only sit in unmarked bus seats and refrain from standing on buses while on board.

  • Seating close to bus operators is already limited on certain buses.

  • An education campaign has been launched asking customers to allow extra space for fellow passengers when on board transit.

  • Coast Mountain Bus Company is accelerating installation of operator protection barriers on all buses.

  • HandyDART has suspended fare collection in order to promote physical distancing between operators and customers.

  • Customers are not able to use seats close to crew on SeaBus vessels.

Any updated travel advice and information will be provided via Transit Alerts and on Twitter. Additional information specific to COVID-19 can also be found at translink.ca/covid19.

All of the above measures will remain in place until further notice.

TransLink has suspended fare collection on the HandyDART system. Because HandyDART fare payment can often require close interaction between operators and customers, we’re taking this step to protect operators and promote physical distancing. 

This comes in addition to several other operational changes we’ve made to improve cleanliness and allow for more social distancing on HandyDART:

  • HandyDART vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected every day.

  • HandyDART operators are supplied with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes gloves, a mask, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.

  • HandyDART operators space customers out in vehicles and conduct single passenger trips in small buses and two-person trips in the larger buses wherever possible.

  • HandyDART customers are pre-screened for COVID-19 symptoms as part of the booking process.

HandyDART has seen an 85% reduction in trips resulting in significantly fewer customers travelling on each bus, and therefore greater physical distancing.

Given the need to promote social distancing, the Compass Customer Service Centre at Stadium-Chinatown Station and West Coast Express Customer Service Centre at Waterfront Station will be closed until further notice.

Customers can still contact Compass Customer Service for any Compass-related enquiries:

Compass Customer Service Centre: 1.888.207.4055

West Coast Express Customer Service: 1.800.570.7245

  • Temporary adjusted hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • The best way to reach us during this busy time is through our Contact Us Form. Due to a high volume of requests, it may take longer than usual for us to respond. Please do not resubmit your request.

The Transit Information & Customer Feedback team can handle any other enquiries. Due to increased call volumes, customers are encouraged to use online Live Chat.

Live Chat Hours

  • 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

  • 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday/Sunday

Phone: 604.953.3333

  • 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Friday

  • 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday/Sunday

Customers are asked to board buses using the rear doors only. Given TransLink cannot collect cash fares at the rear doors, we are also suspending fare collection on the bus system

We are taking this step to allow greater physical distancing to protect our Coast Mountain Bus Company operators at this time. Customers requiring mobility assistance can continue to use the front doors if needed. Regular fares still apply on other TransLink modes.

TransLink has also implemented the following changes:

  • Customers will not be able to use seats close to operators on certain buses.

  • Accelerating the installation of operator protection barriers on buses.

  • Customers will not be able to use seats close to crew on SeaBus vessels.

  • Launching an education campaign promoting hygiene and asking customers to allow extra space for fellow passengers and transit staff.

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfecting on all modes of transit.

As extraordinary physical distancing measures are being put into place across the region, TransLink has also seen a commensurate and significant decline in ridership.  This means there are far fewer passengers using the system, which allows for greater physical distancing.

We will keep customers up to date using social media channels, TransLink customer information (604 953 3333), further bulletins to media outlets and on this page.

Media contact:
TransLink Media Relations
media@translink.ca

March 16, 2020

All of you are aware of the COVID-19 pandemic situation we are all facing.

The magnitude of this public health crisis is unprecedented in our lifetimes. The swift, extensive, and coordinated measures being taken underscore the gravity of the situation.

Like all of you, we at TransLink are doing our part to keep our system safe and operating through this difficult time. We are all in this together, and if we all work together, we will get through it.

We are keeping our system as clean as possible and have put in place extensive cleaning and disinfecting measures across our system, including SkyTrain, our bus fleet, SeaBus and West Coast Express.

We have also taken steps to help protect our employees who interact with the public, including kits with gloves and sanitary wipes on each bus, access to gloves and sanitary wipes at SkyTrain stations, and diligent efforts to keep workspaces clean.

And as you would expect, we are in regular contact with health officials and follow their advice.

Last week, we created this webpage that will serve as a repository of info on COVID-19 and our precautionary measures. Our goal is to be as proactive as possible in providing updates to you, our customers.

We are also asking our customers to work together with us by exercising strong personal hygiene standards. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. And above all else, if you are sick, please stay home.

Transit services are essential for thousands of people who rely on our system to move around the region, including essential service workers and health care professionals who are on the front lines in our fight against COVID-19.  

By working together, we will get through this public health crisis and in the face of this unprecedented challenge, we can ensure that our region keeps moving and our customers stay connected to the people and places that matter most.

Thank you.

Kevin Desmond, CEO

Signature for Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO


FAQs

According to BC Centre for Disease Control, physical distancing means keeping a minimum distance of two metres (or six-and-a-half feet) from one another.

On transit, give as much space as possible between others and wear a mask when this isn't possible. We are also encouraging additional physical distancing changes to ensure everyone feels safe.

We understand this is an anxious time for our customers, and we are working closely with health officials to do our part to keep our employees and riders safe.

While you are in stations, riding buses or trains, remember these tips to help us keep the system safe and clean. Together, we can “flatten the curve.”

Do:

  • For everyone’s safety, please wear a face covering when riding transit. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used.

  • Stay home if you’re feeling unwell

  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeves, elbow or tissue.

  • Disinfect your hands often using hand-sanitizer dispensers at various hubs across the transit system.

  • Practice physical distancing where possible.

  • Refer to the safety tips section on this page for more information.

Do not:

  • Touch your face

  • Use the single seat behind bus drivers

  • Use seats close to the crew onboard the SeaBus

TransLink is recommending the use of masks while on transit but acknowledges there are situations where some individuals may not be able to wear a mask. This recommendation only applies to those who are able to wear a mask.

During this period, TransLink has increased cleaning efforts across our entire system. You can find more information on how we are keeping our stations, vehicles and facilities. Refer to the how we’re keeping the system clean section on this page for more information.

The wellbeing and safety of our staff and customers is a priority for us. Here are some measures we’ve implemented to support physical distancing on transit:

  • Accelerating installation of operator protection barriers

  • Encouraging rear door boarding on buses where it’s possible

  • Restricting the use of single seat behind the operator on certain buses and seats close to SeaBus crew

Not at this time. Over the past several weeks we have seen ridership in decline, meaning that transit services have fewer passengers, which allows for more physical distancing. We have launched an education campaign promoting hygiene and asking customers to allow extra space for fellow passengers when on board transit.

If customers are not using their monthly pass due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they can call Compass Customer Service and discuss options which may be available to them.

Compass Customer Service can be reached at 1-888-207-4055.


Resources

For more information on COVID-19, please see any of the following pages:

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