B.C. Transit has adjusted its operations continuously throughout the pandemic. Full driver doors have been installed in buses to ensure physical distancing between customers and drivers. (B.C. Transit photo)

B.C. Transit has adjusted its operations continuously throughout the pandemic. Full driver doors have been installed in buses to ensure physical distancing between customers and drivers. (B.C. Transit photo)

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

Transit ridership in Greater Victoria is slowly starting to ramp up following a substantial drop in usage over the past couple of months.

Johnathon Dyck, communications manager for B.C. Transit, said regional ridership is down about 66 per cent compared to last year at this time, which is an improvement over last month’s 77 per cent decrease.

Transit routes have had to decrease in order to match the drop in usage, but Dyck said B.C. Transit is “monitoring the situation closely,” and will continuously adapt its services as the province moves towards phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, B.C. Transit implemented safety protocols to ensure driver and customer safety. Some of these protocols included enhanced cleaning on of all the buses, installing vinyl shields and new protective doors for drivers, providing personal protection equipment for HandyDART drivers, encouraging people to wear masks when using transit, and limiting capacity to ensure physical distancing.

“We are looking at how to make transit a comfortable place for users and drivers as we navigate through the situation,” Dyck said. “We have had to make decisions quickly and have kept safety at the top of mind throughout.”

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria gets 13 new handyDART buses to replace aging fleet

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said ridership in Sooke has gone down as many people who usually commute are now working from home.

She will meet with the Victoria Regional Transit Commission on June 16 to gain a better understanding around what transit will look like moving forward.

“It’s certainly on my mind, but B.C. Transit has been good at communicating in terms of whats happening throughout,” said Tait. “I think it would be impactful to hear from riders, and if our residents are feeling comfortable using transit.”

Dyck said the best way for people to get updates and information on routes in their area is to go on the BC transit website, as well as on nextride.victoria.bctransit.com.

B.C. Transit began collecting fares again on June 1.

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