How coach buses have been updated to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Maritime Bus is gearing up to increase passenger safety during COVID-19.

Plan is to install partitions on 50 coach buses that operate throughout Atlantic Canada

'We have a game changer here ... this is what we need in our industry,' says Mike Cassidy, owner of Coach Atlantic Maritime Bus. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

Maritime Bus is gearing up to increase passenger safety during COVID-19 by installing Plexiglas partitions between seats on its coach buses. 

Coronavirus spreads primarily through tiny droplets. The idea is to minimize droplet spread by installing partitions between rows.

"We have a game changer here ... this is what we need in our industry," said Mike Cassidy, owner of Coach Atlantic Maritime Bus.

He said his buses will be among the first in the country to try the new partitions, developed by supplier Prevost and approved by Transport Canada — and he believes they could help a lot with restoring consumer confidence in bus travel. 

"How do we get our buses rolling again and have people travelling?" said Cassidy. "Number one is customer confidence when it comes to safety and it comes to comfortability."

This is a prototype of what Plexiglas partitions will look like when installed on coach buses. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The design is similar to plastic shielding that is popping up in retail and grocery stores. The partitions fit to the back of the motor coach seat.

Coach buses that normally seat 56 people will see the row behind the driver now unavailable, due to physical distancing, and the remaining 54 seats will all have the partitions.

Family members travelling together will be able to sit side-by-side. Those travelling alone will be asked to take the window seat, and leave the seat beside them empty. 

"You can sit back, you can complain about COVID-19 or you can take advantage of the pause, strategize, come up with new ideas and make sure that people are travelling again because there's one thing for certain: we know people wish to travel, our job is to get them on the bus so they do feel safe."

Cassidy says the buses could be ready to go as early as next week. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Cassidy plans to outfit 50 of his coach buses that travel across P.E.I. and throughout the Maritimes with these partitions, at a cost of $2,500 per bus. 

He said the buses could be ready to go as early as next week and the plan is to have everything in place to support interprovincial travel, once it is permitted by health officials.

More from CBC P.E.I.


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