TransLink is launching a new campaign aimed at boosting transit ridership while also reminding customers of the safety and reliability of its transit system.
“Since the restart of British Columbia’s economy in June, our regular riders have gradually been returning to transit,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We want to continue to build ridership over coming months, with systemwide ridership currently sitting at around 43 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan includes several enhanced safety initiatives to ensure customers know that transit is a safe and reliable alternative to driving as British Columbia’s economy continues to reopen.”
TransLink bridge data shows that traffic congestion has returned much faster than transit ridership. The Golden Ears, Knight Street, and Pattullo bridges are now seeing traffic at around 93 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Ensuring commuters have confidence in transit is vitally important to limiting any further road congestion, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the next few weeks, customers will see new signage at transit stations, on vehicles, and online, designed to remind passengers of improved sanitization and cleaning procedures put in place to further enhance their safety. In addition, passengers will start seeing new social media content, including contests, as well as partnerships with local small businesses, webinars, and other engagement opportunities.
As part of this new push, a commemorative and limited edition, adult Compass Card will be made available featuring the signature phrase of Dr Bonnie Henry: ‘Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe’. This card recognizes the extensive efforts that have been made by leaders and individuals in B.C. in response to the pandemic. Starting Tuesday, September 15, customers can purchase the limited-edition card at the Compass Customer Service Centre at Stadium-Chinatown with a $6 refundable deposit. Customers are reminded to wear masks on transit, in line, as well as in the Compass Customer Service Centre, and to maintain physical distancing where possible.
“I applaud the safety measures and layers of protection put in place by TransLink, especially as more people return to work and school,” says British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “By wearing a mask on transit, you are looking out for each other and demonstrating to those around you that you care about their health too.”
What TransLink is doing to make transit safer:
- Mandatory masks on transit vehicles.
- Increased cleaning and sanitizing.
- 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.
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting schedules on SkyTrain and West Coast Express cars, as well as HandyDART vehicles.
- Limiting fare gate access at busy stations to help manage the number of customers on SkyTrain.
- Limiting the capacity on buses to approximately two thirds full.
- Installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.
- Expanding the availability of hand sanitizer dispensers, including on the entire RapidBus fleet, at key exchanges, and at more SkyTrain stations.
- Monitoring passenger loads in order to deploy additional service at times and on routes where physical distancing is more difficult.
What customers can do to enhance their own personal safety and that of fellow passengers:
- Stay off the system if you are sick or have any symptoms.
- Wear a mask while on board transit vehicles.
- Travel outside of peak times when possible.