During a time where health and safety are at the forefront of minds around the country, C-Tran has implemented extra sanitation and health measures for the safety of riders and operators alike.
C-Tran Communications and Public Affairs Manager Christine Selk said the Vancouver-based transportation agency set out to follow social distancing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control. Between March 24 and June 13, the agency implemented a rear door loading policy, requiring riders to board from the back of the bus. Along with this, C-Tran blocked off certain seats on the bus to ensure riders maintained a safe distance.
Although riders can now board on either side of the bus, many of the safety guidelines C-Tran enacted during the “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order are in place for the foreseeable future. According to Selk, the agency installed shatterproof plexiglass barriers around the operators’ seats and plans to limit the number of people on a vehicle at a time to about 15.
“The operators really have a lot of discretion over it,” Selk said about the maximum capacity guidelines. “It has happened a few times where operators have had to ask people to please wait for the next bus, and while we understand that that can be frustrating … it's a safety measure that we take really seriously.”
While the number of people on a bus is up to the discretion of the driver, wearing a mask isn’t. Up until Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandatory face covering went into effect on Friday, June 26, masks were not required on C-Tran buses. However, now that the order is in effect, riders and operators must wear masks if they plan on boarding the bus.
Limiting passengers and requiring facemasks aren’t the only measures C-Tran is taking to ensure the safety of riders and its employees. Every bus in the agency’s fleet is cleaned nightly and the entire operator area is sanitized with antibacterial sprays and wipes. Antibacterial cleaning supplies are also used on high-touch areas within the vehicle such as hanging straps, pull cords and poles. Each bus also undergoes a deep clean similar to a car detailing on a regular schedule and vehicle service workers at transit platforms will do quick but thorough cleans when buses have a short layover period.
Due to COVID-19 measures and less people going out in public, C-Tran saw a significant reduction in ridership with numbers showing the agency had about a 45 percent drop in ridership compared to this time last year. However, according to Selk, numbers are slowly back on the rise as many public spaces and businesses open their doors again.
According to Selk, the best way to stay updated with C-Tran’s current guidelines and regulations is to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
“I would highly recommend that people, especially our regular riders, follow us on Twitter because we use that to blast out our service updates in real time,” Selk said.
More information about C-Tran and their current health guidelines can be found at c-tran.com/.