Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I’ve left Langley City three times on transit. Face masks are key to a safe transit trip.

I’ve been staying close to home since the start of the COVID-19 state of emergency, and with the exception of venturing off to 64th Avenue, only recently travelled outside of Langley City.

When I originally moved to Langley City, it was because I thought it had everything I needed within walking distance. I can also work from home. For 3 months, I was able to stay within the 10 square kilometers of this community. I have of course missed visiting friends, but other than that, I’ve really enjoyed working, living, and going for walks throughout Langley City.

I’ve now left Langley City three times since the start of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Twice I left to go into Downtown Vancouver for work. Once I left to visit a friend in Green Timbers park for a picnic. These three times, I’ve used transit as I do not own a motor vehicle.

King George SkyTrain Station with reduced operating fare gates. Select image to enlarge.

Knowing that transit service is still running on the same pre-COVID-19 schedule, and that local governments and the provincial government are committed to ensuring that transit remains fully funded, has reduced stress for me as I’m sure it has many others in our region.

Transit service is still in demand, and ridership is slowly climbing. As of the end of June, transit boardings are about 33% of pre-COVID-19 levels.

Currently, TransLink only allows people to be seated on the bus. You are not allowed to stand. TransLink has reduced the flow of people through SkyTrain stations.

Me waiting for the SkyTrain at Stadium-Chinatown Station. Select image to enlarge.

On the six times I’ve been on a bus, and four times I’ve been on a SkyTrain, I’ve noticed TransLink is getting close to their reduced capacity limit.

TransLink is currently recommending that people wear a face mask or face covering when riding transit. I believe soon TransLink will need to move back into full capacity mode. In order to move back into full capacity mode, masks will likely play a significant enabling roll.

As of this post, the BC Centre for Disease Control guidance states that a mask “is a good option in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time, such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors.”

In Toronto, masks are now required when people are using transit. To ensure that all people have access to a mask, they are also distributing masks for free.

Transit is critical for people in Metro Vancouver, and ridership is climbing. As TransLink looks to restore full capacity on the transit system, masks will play an important role in keeping everyone safe.

1 comment:

Nathan Davidowicz said...

you are right, we need masks on Transit. In Alberta, the Government is giving out 20M Free Masks. Every day CMBC is cancelling hundreds of bus trips on various routes. Ridership in the Big Cities is up to 50 to 60% of pre-COVID.
However ridership in the small cities is only 15 to 25% of pre-COVID.
TransLink does not want to tell us that the number of car trips especially South Of the Fraser is increasing. More passengers will ride Transit if they know that everyone has to wear a mask. Put in a motion about that at your City Council. Also oppose CMBC cutbacks of 10 to 15% of all trips.