TTC to allow 'all-door boarding' on all vehicles as part of plan to help stop COVID-19
Wheel-Trans to take TCH residents to screening centres, TTC workers to be allowed to wear masks
The Toronto Transit Commission says it is going to allow "all-door boarding" on all its vehicles as part of a larger plan by the agency to help support city efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The move will be implemented over the next 24 hours, according to TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. He said it is an attempt to protect the most vulnerable people in Toronto.
Customers are still expected to tap their Presto cards when boarding a vehicle or entering a station, he said.
"This change is being made to avoid creating pinch points at single-door entry and allow for further social distancing among customers and between customers and operators," Green said on Wednesday in a posting on Twitter.
Green said the TTC has decided to change some of its policies now because the COVID-19 outbreak has created real challenges in the city.
"It's a dynamic and evolving issue and we constantly assess our response in consultation with public health experts," he added.
Soon, when people who live in Toronto Community Housing (TCH) have symptoms of the virus and require testing, Wheel-Trans will take them to a screening and assessment centre for testing and an isolation centre if need be, he said.
Operators of the Wheel-Trans vehicles, along with the TCH residents themselves, will be able to wear personal protective gear in keeping with guidelines from Toronto Public Health.
"Wheel-Trans will dedicate vehicles for these trips and will undergo intense cleaning protocols," he said.
As well, TTC employees who wish to wear their own masks while at work will be allowed to do so, effective immediately, Green added
Toronto Public Health has advised healthy individuals not to wear masks because it believes doing so can increase the risk of getting the virus. Officials have said that it can prompt people to touch their faces more than usual, Green noted, but the TTC has decided to change its policy.
Previously, TTC employees were not allowed to wear masks on the job.
"The TTC has determined that, for the comfort of employees, and to ensure continuity of transit service for those who need it at this time, it will not restrict employees from wearing masks at this time," Green said.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TTC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TTC</a> is changing policies. Also lending support to important City efforts to combat the spread of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> among our most vulnerable. It's a dynamic and evolving issue and we constantly assess our response in consultation with public health experts. <a href="https://t.co/1wk7emPf1t">pic.twitter.com/1wk7emPf1t</a>—@TTCStuart
With files from Muriel Draaisma