The Prince George Transit System will be reducing service down to its normal summer levels starting on Sunday and limiting the number of passengers allowed on buses starting on Monday.
The changes, happening in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, mean the 12 Parkridge, 17 UNBC, 18 Spruceland, 96 Kelly and 97 Kelly routes will be discontinued. The frequency of the 55 Victoria and 15 UNBC/Downtown routes will be reduced as well. And starting on Monday, bus drivers across the province will monitor and limit the number of passengers aboard buses to allow additional space between riders.
"We have seen a decrease in ridership in communities across the province of 50 to 70 per cent," BC Transit communications manager Johnathon Dyck said. "It's also about managing resources. We know this is a very fluid situation, and it's changing day-to-day."
Because of the drop in ridership, BC Transit doesn't believe limiting the number of passengers on buses will result in passengers being turned away. But if it starts happening frequently, service changes will be made to accommodate riders.
With schools and post-secondary institutions closed, moving to the summer service levels was a logical choice, Dyck said.
However, he said, BC Transit is dedicated to making sure people who need transit services to get to work, grocery shopping or to make medical appointments are able to get where they need to go.
BC Transit drivers and staff are dedicated to keeping the buses rolling through the pandemic, Dyck said.
In order to keep drivers and passengers safe, buses are cleaned daily and additional cleaning is being done on high-touch areas like buttons, doors and stanchions. Passengers who are able are being asked to enter buses through the rear doors, and bus drivers are not collecting fairs on any BC Transit routes.
Passengers with mobility issues will still be allowed to enter the bus through the front door to take advantage of accessibility features like kneeling or ramps, Dyck said.
"We're (also) asking people to be courteous to their fellow customers. Move into an open space on the bus," Dyck said. "And if they're sick, do not travel on a bus."
For bus schedules and route maps, go online to www.bctransit.com/prince-george/schedules-and-maps.