Durham Region Transit’s commitment to moving the Region safely during Phase 2 reopening

Posted on Monday June 22, 2020

WHITBY, ON – At Durham Region Transit (DRT), safety is at the core of all business, operational and customer service focused decisions. As the Region enters Phase 2 of reopening, DRT is reminding customers of the additional measures in place to ensure passenger and operator safety.

DRT has adopted the June 11 recommendation of the Ministry of Transportation that public transit passengers wear a face covering or non-medical mask at all times during their travels on public transit, except for children under the age of two years old, and passengers who are unable to wear face coverings or non-medical masks for medical reasons. DRT is relying on passengers to follow the province’s recommendation: wear a mask or face covering on the bus, particularly when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

To amplify the importance of this recommendation to customers, DRT has launched an awareness campaign advising customers to wear a mask: protect yourself and others. The campaign features diverse, highly visual personas of DRT customers. In addition to the mask or face covering recommendation, DRT has already implemented or will be implementing the following measures prior to July 2 fare collection resumption:

  • Enhanced bus cleaning: Each time a bus returns to a garage from service, it is deep cleaned, including all hard surface touch points (doors, stanchions, top of seats, fare collection equipment) using Health Canada approved cleaning and disinfecting products. This enhanced process is in addition to the thorough exterior high-pressure drive-through bus wash and interior clean that happens daily.
  • Prescreening: Before boarding, customers are expected to complete the COVID-19 prescreening questionnaire, posted on the doors of DRT buses. Anyone who has symptoms associated with COVID-19, has travelled outside the country within the last 14 days, or has had close contact with someone who is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, should not take public transit, but rather go home, self-isolate and contact Telehealth Ontario or their health care provider.
  • Bus change-offs: If a customer clearly exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the bus will be changed off (delays may occur as a result). Once the bus has returned to a garage, it is parked in a dedicated area and sanitized with a hospital-grade electrostatic cleaning machine using a disinfectant product recommended by Health Canada.
  • Hand sanitizing stations: While customers are expected to carry their own personal alcohol-based hand sanitizer and practise appropriate hand hygiene, sanitizing stations will be available at the front and rear doors of buses.
  • Continued communication to passengers to respect respiratory etiquette at all times during their journey by:
    • covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing using the crook of elbow or tissues that are immediately discarded in the appropriate disposal receptacle, followed by performing hand hygiene;
    • not touching mouth, nose or eyes with hands; and
    • travel during non-peak hours and take shorter trips to avoid prolonged close contact with others, whenever possible.

Continued measures and practices to support physical distancing:

  • Yellow standee lines: The yellow lines located behind the operator will be farther back to enhance physical distancing for customers and operators while the bus is in service. Except for boarding and exiting, passengers are to remain behind the yellow line while the bus is in service.
  • COVID barriers: Barriers will be installed between the bus operator and customers when front door boarding resumes on July 2. The barriers will be cleaned each time a bus returns to the garage from service, or when required.
  • Customer seating: Customer seating directly behind the operator, on some bus models, will be unavailable for customer use, and seats located within the mobility device area will remain in the upward position.
  • Front door boarding and rear door exiting: In place to ensure one-way passenger flow and eliminate bunching at the front doors.
  • Customer Service Centre: Safety measures have been implemented at DRT’s Customer Service Centre at 110 Westney Rd. S. in Ajax, to support the June 15 reopening, including floor decals, signage, prescreening and a plexiglass barrier.

“With the health and safety controls in place for employees and customers, and our passengers’ commitment to following the requirements outlined by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation, we are confident that DRT remains a safe and healthy public transit option for everyone,” said Bill Holmes, General Manager of Durham Region Transit.

For questions about DRT’s ongoing commitment to health and safety for both customers and staff, view the operational policies in place to support the COVID-19 response at durhamregiontransit.com/COVID-19 or contact our Customer Service at 1-866-247-0055, open Monday to Friday 07:00 to 19:00, and Saturday and Sunday 08:00 to 16:30.

Ministry of Transportation Guidance for Public Transit Agencies and Passengers in Response to COVID-19 from June 11, 2020:
https://files.ontario.ca/mto-guidance-public-transit-agencies-and-passengers-covid-19-en-2020-06-11-v2.pdf

A framework for reopening our province: Learn how we’re planning to reopen businesses, services and public spaces:
https://www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province#section-3

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Media inquiries:
DURHAM REGION TRANSIT COMMISSION
Liam Hatch – Marketing and Communications
905-668-7711 ext. 2181 or liam.hatch@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please call 1-866-247-0055.