British Columbia

TransLink, BC Transit set to resume fare collection June 1

B.C.'s two major transit authorities, TransLink and BC Transit, have announced they will resume charging fares on June 1, following the installation of barriers designed to increase driver safety during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Front-door boarding, fare collection to resume on all buses following installation of driver barriers

Vinyl barriers will soon separate drivers from commuters as B.C.'s transit authorities work to get protection in place by June 1, 2020. (TransLink)

Both BC Transit and TransLink announced they will resume charging fares on their transportation services June 1, following the installation of barriers designed to increase driver safety during the COVID-19 health crisis.

TransLink, which serves the Metro Vancouver region, says temporary plexiglass and vinyl barriers are being added to all buses by June 1, allowing drivers to resume collecting fares at the front of buses, according to a statement emailed by the transit authority Monday.

"We've managed to find an innovative solution which ensures the safety of our bus operators, while also allowing for safe fare collection," said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. 

TransLink also said the move will allow the company to recoup approximately $2 million per month as it resumes fare collection on the bus system, which had been stopped in mid-March in support of provincial guidelines on physical distancing. 

BC Transit, which operates transit systems in 130 communities outside of Greater Vancouver including the Interior and Vancouver Island, had also stopped collecting fares in mid-March. It says it will also resume fare collection on June 1 after it installs  a temporary vinyl panel on all buses without a full driver door.

"You can still see your driver and still chat with your driver," said Jonathan Dyck with BC Transit. "It will allow us to return to front-door loading and collect fares."

The transit authority says it will also continue enhanced cleaning on buses and at BC Transit facilities and limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing. 

"We did install smaller limits to the number of people that can get on the bus," Dyck said, although he said in general, ridership is down between 60 and 80 percent.

TransLink says some buses will have plexiglass barriers by the beginning of June, to protect drivers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. (TransLink)

Financial constraints

TransLink had been losing around $75 million each month due to significant reductions in ridership and fuel tax revenue.

Monday's statement also said all previously announced bus route suspensions and trip frequency reductions will come into effect on May 18.

A total of 41 routes will be suspended, in addition to the 18 route suspensions TransLink announced in April and the six suspended earlier this month.

With files from All Points West