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COVID 19 Impacts BC’s Public Transportation

The following was gathered from various web sites on April 3. Given the fluidity of the current situation, further changes may happen quickly and with little notice.

BC Bus North (https://bcbus.ca/): The company has introduced additional cleaning protocols but its web site makes no mention of seating restrictions or service reductions.

Northern Health Connections (https://nhconnections.ca/): Service is limited to those with essential medical appointments. Previously non-medical transportation was available, if seats were open. Passenger capacity is limited to 12 persons + driver per bus.

The company operates Prince George-Vancouver, Prince George-Prince Rupert, Prince George-Fort St John-Dawson Creek-Fort Nelson and Prince George-Valemount-Kamloops service.

Haida Gwaii (http://eagletransit.net/): Its airport shuttle is cancelled but it still provides a Northern Health service between Queen Charlotte and Masset.

Ebus (https://www.myebus.ca/): Vancouver-Kamloops/Kelowna-Salmon Arm service will be suspended on April 5; Calgary-Edmonton-Fort MacMurray service shut down on March 29. Reservations are being accepted for service re-starting on June 1.

Adventure Charters (https://www.adventurecharters.ca/): Its Surrey (Scott Road Stn)-Hope-Cache Creek- Kamloops/Prince George service is, apparently, still operating. COVID-19 is not mentioned on the company’s web site and the reservation system is still open.

BC Ferries (https://www.bcferries.com/current_conditions/travel-advisory.html): Effective April 4, scheduled sailings on several routes will be reduced. Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo service will be suspended for 60 days. Tsawwassen-Duke Point will have 4 open sailings and 4 cargo-only sailings per day and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay is down to 4 sailings/day. Northern routes will stay on the winter schedule. On board services are closed.

Via Rail (https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-advisory-information): Major service reductions have been implemented. The Canadian, The Skeena, The Ocean and Niagara Falls services are cancelled. The “remote” services in Ontario and Quebec run one train per week. In the Quebec City-Windsor corridor one train per day is scheduled between city pairs. Winnipeg-Churchill has had food and sleeping car service reductions. On April 6, 2020, Via’s web site was updated to note that The Canadian and Skeena trains are cancelled until June 1.

BC Transit (https://www.bctransit.com/media/releases-and-advisories): Summer schedules will be introduced early in Whistler, Prince George, Nanaimo and Kamloops (https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/news/bc-transit-in-kamloops-moving-to-summer-schedule-on-april-5-1.24110879). Other cities are seeing service reductions. BC Transit is also limiting the number of passengers on vehicles and moving to rear door loading, where feasible, and no fare collection.

Victoria (https://www.bctransit.com/victoria): Victoria will see service cuts, over and above the annual spring service reductions, starting on April 6.

Vancouver Island (https://gowilsonsgroup.com/): The Wilson’s group operates scheduled service from Victoria to Port Hardy and Tofino through subsidiaries Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus. Its BC Ferries Connector provides service from Victoria to Vancouver. It also operates a Victoria Airport Shuttle and charter/tour services. All service has been suspended.

Metro Vancouver (https://new.translink.ca/rider-guide/coronavirus-precautions): TransLink and CMBC have made cleaning, fare collection, seating, accessibility and schedule changes to the Metro Vancouver transit system. On a more positive note, the spring service change (starting April 6) introduces the Lonsdale R2 Rapid Bus service along with ancillary North Shore service changes. New services related to the Mayors’ Vision will also be implemented.

Rider Express (https://riderexpress.ca/2020/03/rider-express-response-to-covid-19): Services are operating with reduced seating capacity, using alternating seats in each row. New routes from Calgary to Regina and Calgary to Edmonton have gone ahead as planned, adding to their Vancouver-Calgary and Edmonton-Saskatoon-Regina routes.

Mountain Man Mike’s (https://mountainmanmikes.ca/): The company provides limited service across Highway 3 in southern B.C. It operates weekly bus service on two routes – Kaslo to Vancouver and return and Kaslo to Calgary and return. According to its web site (April 22, 2020) it is still operating albeit with enhanced cleaning protocols. There is no mention of social distancing on its vehicles.

About the Author

Rick Jelfs

Rick Jelfs is the Secretary of Transport Action BC

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