The Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission (BVRTSC) has made the decision to make face coverings mandatory while taking Roam Public Transit buses, starting on July 13, 2020. Taking a proactive step to become the first transit agency in Alberta to mandate face coverings, this new policy is being implemented to increase safety and to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID in the Bow Valley.
Passengers will be asked to wear face coverings such as headwraps, bandanas, scarves, and non-medical masks when boarding, riding, and exiting all Roam buses. Starting July 13, Roam Transit employees will be at the main transit hubs for a few weeks, during peak hours, with a limited supply of non-medical disposable masks for riders who arrive at a bus stop without a face covering. These disposable masks are intended as supplementary and all riders should be providing their own face coverings.
“We have been strongly encouraging the use of face coverings, as well as masks, on Roam buses since early in the pandemic in the Bow Valley, however with increased ridership over the summer months, we believe it’s important to take the next step in keeping our passengers, drivers, and community safe,” says CAO of BVRTSC Martin Bean. “Wearing a face covering while taking transit is a way we can all continue to do our part in taking care of each other and of our community.”
Even with face coverings, passengers are strongly encouraged to maintain a two-metre distance in all areas possible, such as waiting for the bus and allowing other riders to exit prior to boarding.
There will also be exemptions to the new policy, including children under the age of two, people with an underlying medical condition which inhibits the ability to wear a face covering, and people who are unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance. Roam transit operators do not have to wear a mask when behind the plexiglass physical barrier or if they are wearing a face shield. Enforcement will not be in place initially, however, BVRTSC anticipates strong compliance with this new policy as it further enhances the safety measures implemented by Roam, increasing passenger confidence in using transit.
“We understand there will be passengers who are unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons and we want to urge fellow passengers to be respectful of everyone on the bus,” says BVRTSC Board Chair Brian Standish. “At its core, this policy is about protecting one another and by acting kindly toward anyone with or without a face covering, we achieve the original intent.”
In addition to making face coverings mandatory, Roam continues to: limit seat capacity on buses to 60 per cent, sanitize high touch surfaces on the bus, and regularly apply anti-microbial treatments on the buses. For more information on all safety measures on Roam Public Transit, please go to: roamtransit.com/services/covid-19