Coronavirus: Public transit will not be ‘business as usual’ after reopening

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The gradual reopening of Canada’s economy will not mean business as usual for the country’s public transit agencies.

Despite the fact that a slowly growing number of workers will make their way back to the country’s buses, streetcars and subways as they return to workplaces shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the systems that will help get them there say they anticipate maintaining measures that took effect while most of their riders were in lockdown.

Reduced service levels, limited seating and enhanced cleaning protocols will still be in place, several transit agencies said, acknowledging that even more steps may come into play over time but declining to offer details.

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“COVID has changed everything for us,” said Anne Marie Aikins, spokesman for Ontario regional transit provider Metrolinx that operates the heavily travelled GO Transit network. “That’s not going to disappear overnight.”

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Aikins said most of the more than 40 pandemic-related measures implemented since the beginning of the year will remain in effect. Riders returning to Go Transit after their enforced hiatus will find their commutes looking different, she said, noting trains and buses now have hand sanitizer dispensers on board and drivers seated behind protective shields.

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