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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions

Cleaning staff disinfecting a SkyTrain car after hours


What we're doing

Updated: April 8, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.

TransLink is following the lead of health officials when it comes to our response to COVID-19. We want to remind everyone that we need to work together, and that we need your help to keep the system safe and clean for yourself and those around you.

TransLink is closely monitoring the situation and we remain in contact with regional health authorities and other transit agencies in order to determine best practices and ensure our response is appropriate.

Operational changes are listed below, please check back frequently for updates.


Updates

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.

  • TransLink is continuing discussions with post-secondary school and student association representatives about potential refunds for students not using their April passes. Students not needing their April U-Pass are encouraged not to use it and to check their school, student association, or our U-Pass BC website for further updates.

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.

 

Given ridership has significantly decreased on transit over the past few weeks, TransLink has made service reductions to SeaBus, bus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express services.

  • SeaBus has changed to sailings every 30-minutes all-day, instead of every 10-minutes.

  • Bus routes with very low ridership will have reduced service, priority will be given to maintaining service on routes where pass-ups occur

  • Expo and Millennium Lines will see slight frequency reductions, with first and last train schedules remaining in place.

  • West Coast Express:

    • Train 2, departing Mission at 5:55 a.m. and Waterfront at 4:20 p.m. has been cancelled

    • April 8, 2020: Train 4, leaving Mission at 6:55 a.m. and Waterfront at 5:30 p.m. will be cancelled

  • TransLink is carefully monitoring passenger levels in order to balance lower ridership with the need to maintain social distancing.

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.

Fare collection is also suspended for conventional bus to reduce close contact between operators and customers. Regular fares still apply on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus as payment doesn’t involve any person-to-person interaction.

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 spacing customers out in vehicles wherever possible, to promote social distancing.

  • Every HandyDART operator is being supplied with a sanitizing kit which includes gloves, as well as hand sanitizer bottles or sanitizing wipes.

Customers are cancelling around 70% of HandyDART trips daily, resulting in significantly fewer customers travelling on each bus, and therefore greater social 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

  • Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

  • Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Phone: 604.953.3333

  • Monday to Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

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

  • Facilities: Stations and bus loops across the TransLink network are being cleaned at least once per day, including a disinfectant wipe down of stair and escalator handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, fare gates, Compass vending machines, garbage handles, benches, seats, emergency cabinets and emergency phones.

  • SkyTrain: All SkyTrain cars are cleaned overnight and receive a disinfectant wipe down of poles, seats, ceilings, handles, windows, sills, and other surfaces within the cars.

  • Bus & SeaBus: The entire Bus and SeaBus fleet are being sprayed using a strong disinfectant each week, which comes in addition to daily cleaning schedules.

  • HandyDART: vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected every day.

  • West Coast Express: All West Coast Express cars are cleaned and disinfected each evening once they come out of service.

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


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 5:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday to Friday and 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. 

Start a Live Chat session...


How you can help

We advise everyone to follow the guidelines set out by the Canadian Public Health Agency:

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Wash your hands frequently

Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. 

Wash your hands frequently

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Wash your hands frequently

Stay home if you are feeling unwell.

Wash your hands frequently

Maintain social distance by giving more space when possible.


Help keep transit employees and operators safe

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

  • Board buses using the rear doors (Customers requiring mobility assistance can still use the front doors).

  • Seats closest to operators on certain buses will be unavailable, and seats close to crew on SeaBus vessels will be unavailable to customers.

  • Respect physical distancing with all transit employees and maintain a distance of at least 2 metres.


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. This is a way to limit close contact, thereby slowing the spread of COVID-19.

When you’re taking transit, this means leaving space of about the length of a queen-sized bed between you and a fellow commuter and transit staff.

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:

  • Keep at least 2 metres (6.5 ft) from one another when possible

  • Stay home if you’re feeling unwell

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

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for over 20 seconds

Do not:

  • Touch your face

  • Board through the front door on buses, use the rear door where possible (customers needing mobility assistance can still use the front doors if required)

  • Use the single seat behind bus drivers

  • Use seats close to the crew onboard the SeaBus

  • Pay bus fare, simply board the bus

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. Please see the video at the top of this page.

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

Fare collection is suspended for conventional bus and HandyDART to reduce close contact between operators and customers. Regular fares still apply on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus as payment doesn’t involve any person-to-person interaction.

Health officials have given no indication that shutting down public transit in Metro Vancouver would be an appropriate course of action at this stage. Transit services are essential for thousands of people who rely on our system to move around the region, including healthcare workers.

Not at this time. Over the past several days 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:


Chat with us

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