Ontario lays out safety guidelines as transit ridership increases

Sep 2 2020, 10:36 am

The Ontario government is laying out safety guidelines in partnership with public transit operators, as ridership is expected to increase in the fall.

On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said the government distributed comprehensive health and safety guidance documents for transit agencies to have enhanced cleaning and other protocols to ensure riders feel safe on their commute.

“Whether you take public transit to work or school, I want everyone to know that we are doing all we can to make sure you can get to your destination as safely as possible,” said Ford.

“Public health measures like mask requirements and enhanced cleaning measures on transit will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure people can safely go back to work, put food on the table, and get our economy going again.”

Distributed by the Ministry of Transportation, safety guidance for public transit systems and passengers provides guidance for transit workers in case an outbreak occurs and how to manage cases on the transit systems. It was developed in consultation with public health and transit experts.

Basic guidelines like physical distancing, face masks, hand hygiene, and enhanced cleaning of surfaces and vehicles are recommended for all transit agencies.

Metrolinx is a prime example of a transit agency implementing these safety measures.

So far, they have incorporated 40 measures to help keep transit workers and passengers safe.

These measures include installing seat dividers on GO trains and buses, making face coverings mandatory for staff and passengers, providing hand sanitizer dispensers on every GO bus and at every GO Transit and UP Express station, and installing health kiosks at stations to provide safety information.

Metrolinx is also increasing GO train and bus services beginning September 5, as more people return to school and work.

As part of the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government, up to $2 billion is being provided to support public transit in Ontario.

In Phase 1 of this funding in the fall, $660 million will be provided to transit for the 110 municipalities that have transit systems.

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