Riders waiting to take the bus at the Haney Place Exchange in Maple Ridge are reminded of proper safety protocol. (Ronan O’Doherty/ THE NEWS)

TransLink taking measures to make public transit safer

Many Maple Ridge riders are happy with the company’s efforts so far

With businesses across the Lower Mainland inching back towards normal operations, and people feeling slightly more comfortable travelling around, TransLink is anticipating a bump in ridership.

To ensure its customers are safe, the Metro Vancouver transit authority is encouraging the use of masks and installing hand sanitizing dispensers on its RapidBus fleet, at SkyTrain Stations and at key exchanges like Maple Ridge’s Haney Place Exchange.

Julie Williams was waiting at the local exchange on Monday afternoon.

She lives in Maple Ridge, and was taking the bus often before the COVID-19 pandemic but had been choosing to walk during the worst of the scare.

Williams said she still doesn’t feel 100 percent safe but applauds the efforts of TransLink to make the best of a difficult situation.

“They’re doing a lot right now by spacing everybody and only having certain seats available,” she said.

READ MORE: TransLink returns to near-normal operations after COVID-19 leads to drop in ridership

Starting this week, TransLink will build on its Safe Operating Action Plan and expand the availability of hand sanitizer dispensers across Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond has stressed the company’s commitment to focusing on cleaning and sanitizing protocols since the beginning of the pandemic.

“These dispensers will help promote strong personal hygiene practices, which is especially important as our ridership continues to grow,” he said.

“We need to look out for one another and do our part to ensure we are keeping ourselves and our fellow passengers as safe as possible.”

Keira Kirby, who was also waiting inside a bus shelter at the Haney Place Exchange said for the most part she feels safe.

“I feel like too many people go on the transit to feel 100 percent safe, but if you see a lot of people in one spot you just go towards the other the end.”

To counter the risks that come with the growing number of riders, TransLink is launching its ‘Wearing is Caring’ campaign.

As part of the initiative, which aims at promoting the use of face coverings and non-medical masks on Metro Vancouver’s transit system, the company is giving away more than 15,000 TransLink branded marks at key transit hubs over the coming weeks.

Street teams will be positioned at random locations across the system. The TransLinkNews Twitter account will share the location and times on the day of each giveaway.

“We want masks to become a regular part of our transit system,” said Desmond.

“As part of our Safe Operating Action Plan we are recommending customers wear a face covering or mask while on transit or waiting for transit, if they are able to do so.

“If we can get to a point where most people on transit are wearing a face covering or mask, then it will be a safer experience for everyone.”


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