COVID-19 Transit Safety

Testing copper on our transit system

In late 2020, TransLink became the first transit system in North America to test copper products for their ability to fight bacteria on high-touch surfaces. In September 2021, we launched Phase 2 of the pilot project with our partners, which will run for one full year. Follow this page to learn more.

Testing copper on our transit system

In late 2020, TransLink became the first transit system in North America to test copper products for their ability to fight bacteria on high-touch surfaces. In September 2021, we launched Phase 2 of the pilot project with our partners, which will run for one full year. Follow this page to learn more.

  • Copper Pilot Project

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    Copper is back on Metro Vancouver’s transit system!

    We’re excited to announce that Phase Two of our industry-leading copper pilot project has launched as of September 28 and will run for one year.

    Phase Two is a continuation of our successful pilot in 2020, in which TransLink became the first transit agency in North America to test copper-based products for their ability to destroy bacteria on high-touch surfaces.

    The project was the result of an innovative partnership between TransLink, Teck Resources, Vancouver Coastal Health, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction, and the University of British Columbia. Phase One took place over five weeks and tested copper products on two trolleybuses and two SkyTrain cars. The results were very encouraging. Based on sample-testing performed on transit and in a lab, the study concluded that copper is capable of killing up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of contact. Phase Two will include further testing on more train cars and buses over a one-year period, to assess their durability over time and their ability to kill both bacteria and viruses.

    We are also excited to welcome three new partners to the project as part of Phase Two: the Toronto Transit Commission, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Westech Cleaning Audit Systems.

    Sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter or Instagram to receive updates on this project over the next year, as well as other TransLink initiatives.


    Did you know?

    • Copper is the only solid metal touch surface registered as a public health product by Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, proven to naturally eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria.
    • Antimicrobial copper has been installed in more than 300 healthcare facilities in 26 countries in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.
    • Copper surfaces are also being installed in training centers for professional sports teams, airports and restaurants, where uses range from exercise equipment to elevator buttons to kitchen appliances.
    • Copper’s antimicrobial properties are supported by over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies.
    • TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper products on vehicles and is a member of the international Copper Action Hub.


    Keeping our customers safe

    Our goal is to make transit one of the safest public spaces so we’re looking at new ways to innovate and build upon our Safe Operating Action Plan. COVID-19 transmission has not been linked to transit and Public Health remains supportive of transit use and the continued efforts of TransLink.


    To learn more:


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  • Download Our New Transit Checklist

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    Whether you are heading back to work or back to school, commuting or exploring local on the weekend, we want you to check out the NEW transit checklist to ensure you are prepared for your next trip on transit. Download the PDF and share with your friends, colleagues or family.

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  • What does transit look like these days?

    Have you been away from transit for a while? We have made a lot of changes in the last few months to help keep you moving safely and reliably. Check out this video to get a closer look at what a trip on the system looks like right now.

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  • Translink introducing mandatory face covering policy

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    Beginning Monday, August 24, TransLink will require customers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings while on board transit vehicles. This step is essential to ensuring customers have confidence riding transit as British Columbia’s economy continues to reopen and more people commute around the region.

    “Physical distancing is not always going to be possible on transit, particularly once more riders return to the system,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Customer confidence is key to rebuilding ridership in the context of this pandemic and we believe this step is important to bring many of our riders back. We’ve listened to transit users who want to see face coverings made mandatory on transit vehicles.”

    Customers who are unable to wear face coverings due to an underlying medical condition or disability will be exempt from this policy and won’t be asked to wear a mask or face covering. These customers will have the option to request a TransLink branded card which notes they are exempt from wearing a face covering. The cards will be made available at Compass Customer Service Centres at Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront Stations.

    Exemptions for TransLink’s mandatory face covering policy include:

    • Anyone with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering;
    • Persons unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance;
    • Children under 5 years of age;
    • Employees working behind a physical barrier or within areas designated for employees and not for public access;
    • Police, employees, or first responders in an emergency.

    “Transit is an important service for many British Columbians. TransLink’s decision to make masks mandatory on their vehicles will help make transit safer for passengers, and we can make it safer for our fellow passengers when we wear a mask,” said Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. “Find one that’s comfortable and make time to get used to wearing them and taking them on and off as needed. Those of us who are able should be using masks on transit all the time. I do and I expect others to as well.”

    Although Transit Police will be able to enforce a rule or signage requiring face coverings on transit, the initial focus of this policy will be on awareness and education. Frontline employees may inform or remind customers to wear a face covering when on-board transit vehicles.

    The mandatory mask policy is part of TransLink’s Safe Operating Action Plan. This comprehensive plan increases cleaning and sanitizing of transit vehicles and hubs, increases service levels, and creates space between customers where possible.

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  • Face coverings now available at the TransLink Store

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    The TransLink store has you covered this summer. After launching authentic transit maps from the system a few weeks ago, the TransLink Store’s now bringing you face coverings!

    The face covering features a unique pattern consisting of TransLink’s symbols for bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express. TransLink’s T icon accents the face covering in the top left corner.

    It’s available in a multi-colour and two-tone design, and in adult and kids’ size (approximately for ages 4 to 10).

    Double up and save with a two pack (one adult two-tone design and one adult multi-colour design) or a family pack (the multi-colour design in both adult and kids, and the two-tone design in adult and kids).

    Visit translinkstore.ca to purchase the face coverings.

    It’s all part of TransLink’s Wearing is Caring campaign aimed at promoting the use of face coverings and non-medical masks on Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

    “We want masks to become a regular part of our transit system,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in an earlier release. “As part of our Safe Operating Action Plan, we are recommending customers wear a face covering or mask while on transit or waiting for transit, if they are able to do so. If we can get to a point where most people on transit are wearing a face covering or mask, then it will be a safer experience for everyone.”

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  • Bus Services staff helping to keep transit clean

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    Keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic has been our priority. Across the system, we’ve enhanced our cleaning procedures, equipped buses with temporary barriers and reinforced physical distancing measures.

    The servicepersons on our Bus Services team have been fundamental in this effort – their dedication, adaptability and incredible work ethic have helped Coast Mountain Bus Company deliver transit services to thousands of people who rely on us.

    “We’re dealing with a lot of health care workers who take transit to get to work and we want to protect them prior to going into their environment,” explained Valerie Clarke, serviceperson at Vancouver Transit Centre. “I want to make sure when anyone rides a bus, they feel protected.”

    Before and after COVID-19

    Prior to the pandemic, Valerie explained that her team’s job was to get the buses out in the morning and prep them for the afternoon rush. This involved driving the buses around, sweeping and mopping the floors, tidying up the operator’s area, taking them through the bus wash, conducting a pre-trip inspection and re-parking them for the afternoon rush hour.

    “Since the pandemic began, there’s been a greater emphasis on disinfecting the buses, so our jobs have changed a bit,” added one of the servicepersons. “We’ve focused more on cleaning the inside of the bus.”

    Extra attention is given to high-touch surfaces on the bus, such as the stanchions and the operator’s area. While cleaning, servicepersons wear gloves, masks, eye goggles, coveralls over their clothes, and use a safe, hospital-grade disinfectant.

    Taking health & safety seriously

    The Bus Services team has continued to implement specific initiatives to enhance regular cleaning procedures and protect employees, including:

    • Daily disinfectant spraying of staff areas: bullpens, change rooms, lunchrooms
    • Daily disinfectant spraying of garage vehicles: yard trucks, mobile mechanic vehicles
    • Increased disinfection of high-use areas: Shop and Parts counters, bulletin boards, door handles, light switches
    • Spraying buses with disinfectant
    • Installation of physical distancing signage
    • Cleaning windshields

    Showing appreciation

    The hard work of our Bus Services team hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    “A lot of operators who see us wave and say thanks. They appreciate it,” one of the servicepersons relayed. “They see us in the yard cleaning the buses and they get excited knowing that their work environment is clean, and they’ll be safe when they go on the road. They’re not going into an unknown area where someone could have coughed or sneezed.”

    Valerie concurred: “It’s kind of rewarding when an operator gets on after you’ve cleaned their bus and they tell you it’s so clean and smells nice. I think it’s very important for all of us to be here. A lot of us work really hard to keep the buses as clean and presentable as possible. It’s important to protect all of us. We’re all one family and we all work together.”

    Sending our sincerest thanks to our Bus Services team for their enthusiasm and dedication throughout these challenging times!

    Written by Rebecca Abel

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  • TransLink launches "Wearing is Caring" campaign

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    TransLink is today launching a new campaign aimed at promoting the use of face coverings and non-medical masks on Metro Vancouver’s transit system. As part of the ‘Wearing is Caring’ campaign, more than 15,000 TransLink branded masks will be handed out at key transit hubs over coming weeks.

    Street teams will be positioned at random locations across the system and customers may find they’re especially easy to spot when accompanied by TransLink’s new mask-wearing bus. The @TransLinkNews Twitter account will share the location and times on the day of each giveaway.

    “We want masks to become a regular part of our transit system,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “As part of our Safe Operating Action Plan we are recommending customers wear a face covering or mask while on transit or waiting for transit, if they are able to do so. If we can get to a point where most people on transit are wearing a face covering or mask, then it will be a safer experience for everyone.”

    The ‘Wearing is Caring’ campaign will also see systemwide posters and decals installed to promote the use of face coverings and non-surgical masks. Social media giveaways will also be part of the campaign. Branded masks will be made available for purchase through the TransLink store later in the summer.

    Importantly, transit customers must still ensure they stay off the system when sick, travel outside of peak times when possible, and maintain high personal hygiene standards. As part of its Safe Operating Action Plan, TransLink has:

    • Increased cleaning and sanitization across all modes;
    • Increased transit service levels;
    • Created space where possible on vehicles and platforms.

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  • TransLink installs more hand sanitizer stations on the transit system

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    TransLink is building upon the Safe Operating Action Plan and expanding the availability of hand sanitizer stations across Metro Vancouver’s transit system. Dispensers will be installed on the entire RapidBus fleet, at key exchanges, and at more SkyTrain stations.

    “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been focused on our cleaning and sanitizing protocols,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “These dispensers will help promote strong personal hygiene practices, which is especially important as our ridership continues to grow. We need to look out for one another and do our part to ensure we are keeping ourselves and our fellow passengers as safe as possible.”

    Customers must also continue to enhance their own personal safety and that of fellow passengers by staying off the system if they are sick and wearing a non-medical mask or face covering if they are able to do so. Customers should also travel outside of peak times when possible and allow more time for their commute.

    Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed:

    • On the entire RapidBus fleet of approximately 110 buses;
    • At several key bus exchanges including Phibbs Exchange, Scottsdale Exchange, Haney Place Exchange;
    • At both SeaBus terminals;
    • On the Expo and Millennium Lines at Waterfront Station, Granville Station, Commercial-Broadway Station, Columbia Station, Surrey Central Station, Brentwood Town Centre Station, Lougheed Town Centre Station, Coquitlam Central Station;
    • On the Canada Line at Marine Drive Station, Bridgeport Station, Richmond-Brighouse Station.

    TransLink’s initiatives, many of which have been implemented since the beginning of the pandemic, are a part of the Safe Operating Action Plan. These new and enhanced initiatives include deploying cleaning pit crews to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high traffic stations, increasing bus and SeaBus disinfecting sprays to twice per week, and maintaining daily cleaning schedules across all modes. Fare gate access remains limited at busy stations to help manage the number of customers on SkyTrain and capacity on buses is limited to approximately two thirds full.

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  • TransLink Implements Safe Operating Action Plan

    In order to support British Columbia’s Restart Plan, TransLink is introducing new and enhanced measures to make transit service safer and keep it available for those who need it.

    Over the next several weeks, customers will notice changes at transit stations and on vehicles designed to improve sanitization, create space where possible, and enhance personal safety.

    TransLink’s initiatives, many of which have been taken since the beginning of the pandemic, are now part of a Safe Operating Action Plan. This plan will be implemented in phases to meet the needs of our customers as B.C.’s economy re-starts. Below are the steps customers will see, as well as the actions we are asking them to take.

    What we are doing to make transit safer:

    Increased Cleaning and Sanitizing

    • Deploying cleaning “pit crews” to disinfect SkyTrain cars at high traffic stations.
    • Increasing bus and SeaBus disinfecting sprays to twice per week in addition to daily cleaning schedules.
    • Maintaining daily cleaning and disinfecting schedules on SkyTrain and West Coast Express cars, as well as HandyDART vehicles.

    Managing Physical Space

    • Limiting fare gate access at busy stations to help manage the number of customers on SkyTrain.
    • Installing two-metre spaced decals at some bus stops and station entranceways to help guide customers.

    Adding Service to Create More Space

    • Restoring service across all modes to add more capacity, including to routes which were previously reduced. Service will be operating at nearly the same levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Monitoring passenger loads in order to deploy additional service at times and on routes where physical distancing is more difficult.

    What customers can do to enhance their own personal safety and that of fellow passengers:

    • Stay off the system if you are sick.
    • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering while waiting or on-board our vehicles.
    • Travel outside of peak times when possible. This is especially recommended for vulnerable people.
    • Allow more time for your commute.

    Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink –
    “Thousands of essential workers have relied on transit every day during the pandemic and many of our customers will return over the coming weeks and months. We’re committed to keep our system running and making it widely available to the people of Metro Vancouver as they go back to work, to school, and to moving around the region. Our Safe Operating Action Plan is meant to make transit as safe as possible and asks our customers to help out by keeping themselves and their fellow passengers safer.”

    Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer –
    “Public Health and WorkSafeBC are working with transit agencies to ensure all reasonable steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, it’s clear that maintaining a safe physical distance may not be possible in every situation. We recommend all passengers consider wearing a face covering while using public transit, especially during those instances where physical distancing may not be possible. We also ask the public to be patient during this challenging transition period and we are grateful to British Columbia’s transit agencies for doing everything possible to protect the public during these changing times.”


    Additional resources

    YouTube


    Media contact:

    TransLink Media Relations
    media@translink.ca

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Page last updated: 28 September 2021, 10:58