Masks are now required on Metro Vancouver transit
Published Monday, August 24, 2020 9:06AM PDT Last Updated Monday, August 24, 2020 2:33PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver commuters will notice a major change on transit Monday morning, as new rules requiring masks kicked in.
TransLink first announced the change earlier this month, saying that non-medical masks or face coverings will be required while on board transit vehicles. That change came into effect Monday morning.
Over the weekend, TransLink adjusted its signage across its system to let travellers know about the change, but the company's spokesperson Ben Murphy says the new policy will be education-focused to start, with no penalties.
“We want to make sure people understand this is a new rule that’s come into effect,” Murphy said. “We aren’t denying service at this stage, Transit police do have the ability to issue fines but our focus is on education rather than enforcement.”
When fines are eventually handed out they can be up to $150, and anyone who does not wear a mask can also be asked to leave the transit system.
Enforcement of the new rules will be primarily be up to Metro Vancouver Transit Police, not the drivers.
“We aren’t asking our front line staff to be mask police, we’re not asking them to be enforcers, but if they chose to they can remind people of the policy and we think that’s about the right balance at this stage,” Murphy said.
It’s hoped transit users will adapt to the new policy without fines needing to be issued. Murphy says there has been “95 per cent compliance” in Toronto since masks were made mandatory on public transit in early July.
Leading up to the change, TransLink handed out 10,000 branded masks to passengers and says it will hand out another 20,000 in the coming weeks.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.