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.
Mandatory Face Covering Policy
Beginning Monday, August 24, TransLink will require customers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings while on-board transit vehicles.
Although Transit Police will be able to enforce a rule or signage requiring face coverings on transit, the initial focus of this policy will be on awareness and education.
Frontline employees may inform or remind customers to wear a face covering when on-board transit vehicles.
There are a number of important exemptions to this policy, which include:
Anyone with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering;
These customers will have the option to request a TransLink branded card which notes they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
The cards will be made available at Compass Customer Service Centres at Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront Stations.
Persons unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance;
Children under 5 years of age;
Employees working behind a physical barrier or within areas designated for employees and not for public access (including Bus Operators while driving behind a barrier);
Police, employees, or first responders in an emergency.
This step is essential to ensuring customers have confidence riding transit as British Columbia’s economy continues to reopen and more people commute around the region.
Rebuilding transit ridership is crucial as our region’s economy reopens and road congestion returns. Customer confidence is key to rebuilding ridership.
Internal counts show approximately 40 per cent of customers are currently wearing face coverings on transit.
This policy around mandatory mask or face covering use is being added to TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan.
The plan has increased cleaning and sanitizing of transit vehicles and hubs, increased service levels and creates space between customers where possible.
We've recently launched our COVID-19 Transit Safety engagement project. Throughout this engagement, you will have the opportunity to share your positive stories, take surveys, ask us questions, get tips on safe transit use and more!Get involved
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.
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.
We’re asking customers to use bus seating when possible. Once restricted capacity is reached, the bus will not pick up any further passengers.
Each ferry can seat up to 195 passengers at a time. 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.
Stay home when unwell, avoid touching your face, and cough/sneeze into your elbow.
Starting August 24, masks or face coverings will be mandatory on board transit vehicles. Non-medical masks, bandanas, scarves and cloth can all be used. Some exemptions apply.
Use the Trip Planner to plan your trips in advance and allow for extra travel time.
Please maintain physical distance from other passengers and transit staff when possible and follow our physical distancing markers where outlined.
Use sanitizer before and after riding transit. We’re rolling out additional hand-sanitizer dispensers across the system which can currently be found at many SkyTrain Stations.
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.
Use the Feedback Form or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.
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.
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.
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.
Updated: Thu Aug 06 2020 1:30 P.M. GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
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 BC'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.
We're 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.
Expanding the availability of hand sanitizer dispensers, including on the entire RapidBus fleet, at key exchanges, and at more SkyTrain stations.
We're 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.
Consistent with Transport Canada’s requirements, SeaBus is limiting capacity of each vessel to 195 passengers (50% capacity).
We’re implementing measures for our frontline employees.
Customers will not be able to use seats close to operators on certain buses.
Installation of plexiglass or vinyl operator protection barriers on all buses.
Customers will not be able to use seats close to crew on SeaBus vessels.
Given the close contact required, bus operators will not be able to assist our wheelchair customers with being strapped in a front-facing position on our conventional buses.
We're updating our recommendations to customers.
Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or onboard our vehicles and transit system.
This recommendation only applies to those who are able to wear a mask.
Stay off the system if you are sick.
Travel outside of peak times. This is especially recommended for vulnerable people.
Allow more time for your commute.
TransLink has increased service levels to ensure transit is available for commuters as BC's economy restarts.
Most major modes are now at pre-COVID levels.
Measures Specific to HandyDART
HandyDART vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected every day, with drivers also wiping all touch points between trips.
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 and are asked to wear a non-medical face covering or mask while travelling.
HandyDART has seen an 82% reduction in trips resulting in significantly fewer customers travelling on each bus, and therefore greater physical distancing.
Temporary Procedures for Wheelchair Passengers
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.
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
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.
Exemption Card FAQs
When and where are Exemption Cards available for collection?
Exemption Cards are now available for collection at Compass Customer Service Centres at Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront Stations.
Who is able to collect an Exemption Card?
Exemption Cards are available to anyone who has an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering. Persons unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance are also eligible to receive an Exemption Card.
If I can’t wear a mask, do I need an Exemption Card on transit?
Given TransLink is not enforcing its mandatory mask or face covering policy at this time, it is not a requirement to carry an Exemption Card on transit.
Why would I get an Exemption Card if they’re not required?
TransLink’s Exemption Cards are an option for those who are unable to wear a mask or face covering, should they prefer to have one while travelling on transit. Exemption Card holders may choose to display their card and can also present it to other customers or employees if appropriate.
What evidence do I need to bring for attaining my Exemption Card?
There is no requirement for attaining an Exemption Card at this time.
Do you have other options aside the Exemption Cards?
Yes, HandyCARD customers can also collect a sticker which is able to be stuck onto any HandyCARD. Similar to the Exemption Card, these stickers stipulate that the holder is exempt from wearing a mask or face covering.
Can I have an Exemption Card mailed out to me?
If you are not able to visit a Compass Customer Service Centre, please phone Customer Information on +1 (604) 953-3333 to discuss what options could be available.
Who do I contact for more information about Exemption Cards?
TransLink Customer Information on +1 (604) 953-3333.
What does "physical distancing" mean when I'm taking transit?
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.
What to do if you see someone who is not physical distancing?
If someone is not respecting your space or there are too many people around for your comfort, please remove yourself from the situation. We ask that you please do not try to enforce these guidelines yourself. We have installed signage, decals and announcements across the system which reminds customers to follow these guidelines and are doing what we can to keep transit safe for everyone. If a bus, vehicle or elevator is full, please wait for the next one. Your safety is our top priority and we ask that you do not engage with other passengers which may lead to an unsafe situation.
How can I protect myself while using transit?
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.”
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.
Touch your face
Use the single seat behind bus drivers
Use seats close to the crew onboard the SeaBus
What if I am not able to wear a mask or face covering?
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.
What is TransLink doing to keep the system clean?
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.
How are the employees, operators and frontline staff protected?
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
Does the ban on public gatherings affect public transit?
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.
Will TransLink be refunding monthly pass holders?
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.
For more information on COVID-19, please see any of the following pages: