TransLink is temporarily suspending fare collection on its HandyDART shuttle system to allow for improved physical distancing between drivers and passengers.
The change will come into effect on Wednesday, March 25.
This follows the public transit authority’s decision last week to suspend fare collection for all regular buses across the region for the same reason, with a new rear-door bus boarding policy implemented. Regular fares still apply on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus.
In addition to the temporary free fares policy, TransLink is performing enhanced cleansing and disinfecting on a daily basis on HandyDART, regular buses, and trains.
As well, as HandyDART operators provide physical assistance to their passengers, they are being supplied with a sanitizing kit that includes gloves and hand sanitizer bottles or sanitizing wipes. Operators are also spacing passengers out in vehicles as much as possible to promote physical distancing.
HandyDART is a door-to-door, shared ride service for passengers who are elderly and/or with a disability. It serves those who are unable to use conventional public transit services without assistance.
TransLink reports approximately 70% of daily HandyDART trips are being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in significantly fewer passengers travelling on each bus, and therefore allows for greater physical distancing. There are over 300 HandyDART buses, with the service operating 18 hours per day.
System-wide transit ridership across all services has fallen significantly over the past two weeks.