TransLink says 92% of passengers now wearing face masks

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What happened: Transit authority reports vast majority of passenger complying with new mask rules

Why it matters: Requirements went into effect at end of August in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19

TransLink says new requirements making face masks mandatory for passengers riding public transit in Metro Vancouver are delivering results. 

The regional transit authority reports 92% of passengers have been observed wearing masks as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The new figures, released September 2, are based on spot checks made by TransLink staff at “high customer volume locations across the system over several days last week” that tallied about 31,000 passengers.

The mandatory mask policy, which went into effect August 24, was introduced as more commuters were boarding buses, the SkyTrain and SeaBus amid the reopening of the economy.

The uptick in passengers makes physically distancing less practical compared with when the transit system experienced significant plunges in ridership at the outset of the pandemic.

Google’s COVID-19 community mobility report on the City of Vancouver found transit ridership fell 47% below pre-COVID levels from June 15 to July 27.

“This is a very encouraging trend,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said in a statement, referring to the 92% of passengers wearing masks.

“This level of compliance shows our approach is succeeding and we’ll keep working hard to ensure we can continue to build on these numbers. I’m pleased to see our customers are helping us make transit safer for the thousands of people who rely on the system every day.”

Transit police have the ability to enforce the new mask requirement, however, TransLink said its initial strategy will be to focus on passenger awareness.

torton@biv.com

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