TransLink's COVID-19 recovery adds routes, cleaning, urges passengers wear masks

VANCOUVER — The corporation overseeing Metro Vancouver's transportation network says it is restoring routes, enhancing cleaning and recommending passengers wear masks as B.C.'s COVID-19 restart begins.

TransLink says it has begun to implement its safe operating plan to keep transit secure and available for those who need it.

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Service on more than a dozen routes was suspended last month due to a looming financial deficit but a deal with the province averted further cuts and TransLink says the suspended routes have been restored.

A statement from TransLink says service will soon be operating at pre-pandemic levels to ease physical distancing, while disinfectant sprays will be doubled and cleaning crews will work in high traffic stations.

Fare gate access will also be restricted at some busy train stations to manage the number of customers on each train.

Passengers are urged to stay off transit if they are sick, to travel at non-peak times and to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or on-board trains and buses.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says public health and WorkSafeBC officials are working with all transit agencies to ensure safe travel but they recognize that staying two metres apart may be difficult.

"We recommend all passengers consider wearing a face covering while using public transit, especially during those instances where physical distancing may not be possible," she says in the statement issued Thursday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2020

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