British Columbia

TransLink announces free buses and rear-door boarding to support social distancing

The new policy goes into effect Friday, March 20 but does not include SkyTrain or SeaBus.

Transportation authority says ridership has plummeted 52 per cent compared to the same time last year

Passengers board a TransLink bus in Vancouver on Nov. 1, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In an effort to allow for proper social distancing in the time of COVID-19, TransLink is bringing in rear-door boarding on all its buses and making them free.

The new policy will go into effect Friday, March 20.

Buses are not equipped to collect cash at rear doors and some also don't have Compass Card readers at the back. 

"It's a big step and it will have a significant financial impact for TransLink but we do need to take this step to protect our Coast Mountain Bus drivers," said TransLink spokesman Ben Murphy.

Regular fare collection still applies on other TransLink vehicles like SkyTrain and SeaBus.

Customers requiring mobility assistance can continue to use the front doors if needed.

Murphy said ridership has plummeted 52 per cent compared to the same time last year. The upside is that social distancing is now possible on transit.

"What we're seeing on board is that people are spreading out and giving space," he said.

TransLink has also announced that customers will not be able to use seats closest to operators on certain buses and on SeaBus vessels.

The company says it has ramped up cleaning and disinfecting of all modes of transit and stations.