translink free ride

Vancouver is making all public transit buses completely free

In response to escalating concerns surrounding the 2019 novel coronavirus, Metro Vancouver's public transit authority is suspending all bus fare collection and implementing back-door boarding to slow the spread of COVID-19 amid a mounting global pandemic.

Beginning March 20, all TransLink buses in Vancouver will be completely free to ride, as customers are being asked to board using only the rear doors.

"Given TransLink cannot collect cash fares at the rear doors, and some buses aren’t equipped with Compass Card readers at that entrance, we are also suspending fare collection on the bus system," reads an announcement from the public transit service published Thursday afternoon.

"We are taking this step to allow greater social 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 will still apply on other TransLink modes, including the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.

In addition to the back-door bus boarding policy, TransLink announced the following changes to its operations, effective immediately:

  • 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.

TransLink also noted in its announcement that it has been experiencing a significant decline in ridership since social distancing measures were put into place in an attempt to flatten the epidemic curve of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

As of March 19, Canada's federal government was reporting 846 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. For B.C., specifically, 271 cases have been confirmed and eight people across the province have died as a result of contracting the virus.

The World Health Organization had recorded 209,839 cases of COVID-19 as of March 19, with 8,778 deaths now confirmed globally.

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