As public transit ridership is currently low with the absence of normal crush load volumes, TransLink announced today passengers can now take their bikes on the SkyTrain at all times and in all directions on both the Expo and Millennium lines.
As a temporary measure, this will make it easier for passengers to get around by cycling and taking public transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“We’re always looking at ways to improve our customer experience, especially as we navigate these unprecedented times,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.
“This change will give customers more opportunity to integrate cycling into their daily commute with transit and will hopefully encourage more people to leave their cars at home and support more greener modes of transportation this fall.”
This new policy change is emphasized to be temporary, running only until March 31, 2021.
TransLink’s previous policy banned bicycles on the Expo and Millennium lines during the weekday rush hours of 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm.
On the Canada Line, bicycles have always been permitted on this SkyTrain line given the wider width of the train cars.
Ridership on TransLink’s services has recovered to 43% of normal levels — up from the pandemic low of 17% in April.
Currently, the Expo and Millennium lines are at 38% of their pre-COVID ridership, while the Canada Line is at 31%, the bus system is at 43%, SeaBus is at 27%, and West Coast Express is at 17%.
TransLink anticipates ridership will rebound to 70% of normal volumes in early 2021.
Although ridership is well under the halfway point of what is considered normal, service levels are operating at normal or near-normal levels to provide passengers with some ability to practice physical distancing. TransLink says it is made possible by the federal and provincial government’s joint commitment of $644 million in emergency operating funding for the public transit authority, which covers revenue losses this year to date and the forecasted losses through 2021.
The public transit authority has implemented a wide range of health safety measures, including enhanced cleansing and disinfecting, signage promoting physical distancing and personal hygiene practices, and most recently the implementation of the mandatory mask policy.
Mask compliance on public transit has reached between 92% and 95%, based on the most recent spot checks.