BC Transit stepping up mask rules

BC Transit is now asking bus riders to wear a mask for their entire bus trip, including when waiting in covered bus stops.

On Friday, BC Transit updated its mandatory face covering policy to align with provincial public health regulations.

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"It is required that customers are wearing face covering when on board a BC Transit vehicle. The order from the Province of BC also requires customers waiting at covered bus stops to be wearing a face covering," a statement issued by BC Transit said. "Aligning with the Province of B.C. criteria, face shields will no longer be considered acceptable as a face covering as it has an opening below the mouth."

The only exceptions will be for children under the age of 12; people with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear one; and people who physically cannot remove a mask on their own.

Bus drivers behind a full driver door or vinyl panel are also exempt.

"Transit operators are responsible for the safe operation of their bus. As with any issues, the operator has the ability to report those being vocal to the noncompliance of the mask mandate to their transit supervisor or manager," the BC Transit statement said. "Under the order, BC Transit supervisors and managers will now have authority to enforce compliance with the assistance of local authorities if necessary."

In a report to city council earlier this month, city director of infrastructure services Adam Homes said that despite masks being mandatory on buses since Aug. 24, compliance was only around 62 per cent in September and 64 per cent in October.

"Customers who observe others not following the rules can report these instances to their local transit office. Customers should not attempt to enforce the Ministerial Orders," the BC Transit statement said. "BC Transit asks customers to please be kind to each other, and if someone is not wearing a face covering to assume they meet our exception criteria."

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