The Société de transport de Laval (STL) says it is ready to take on the challenges lying ahead as deconfinement is set to gradually begin and activities resume under a climate of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To guide the implementation of new measures, the STL says it has prepared a work plan to protect its users and employees in accordance with recommendations from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) and provincial public health authorities.
The STL says it has reprioritized projects in order to better focus its resources on new priorities created by the pandemic.
“The current situation requires all of our units at the STL to work together and pull out all the stops to provide our employees and users with a safe environment,” STL president Éric Morasse said Tuesday in a statement. “We fully believe our joint efforts will see us through this unprecedented crisis.”
“We are asking users, businesses and employees to embrace a spirit of solidarity and collective responsibility for the common good,” said the transit agency’s general manager Guy Picard. “We must all adapt to this new reality, which we will have to contend with for many months to come. Adhering to the directives and recommendations requires changing how we do things so we may continue providing this essential service.”
The STL says it is taking the following measures for transit users to follow to help ease the way back towards normalcy.
1. More bus service
As of May 9, they’ve upped regular bus service during the week by 50% to reach 80% of the service usually provided this time of year. Although ridership numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, they increased bus service to minimize overcrowding, foster social distancing and meet users’ commuting needs, all in keeping with the availability of resources. As the economy gradually reopens, the STL expects ridership levels to increase in the coming weeks, which will further complicate practicing social distancing when using public transit.
2. Wearing face covering strongly recommended
As per recommendations from public health authorities, the STL strongly urges public transit users to wear face coverings. To encourage this practice, the STL, jointly with Exo, the RTL and the STM, will start distributing some reusable face coverings to users. As a reminder, posters are installed on buses and in bus terminals. The STL says face coverings constitute an extra preventive measure when in public, which must be paired with all other appropriate protective measures (coughing in elbow, frequent handwashing).
3. Maintaining increased cleaning
Since the pandemic began, the STL has adapted its cleaning procedures and upped its cleaning frequency across its operations, i.e. vehicles, terminals, offices and garage. The transit agency says these exceptional measures will remain in effect for as long as the situation warrants it.
4. Measures in terminals
In addition to increasing cleaning operations in the three Laval terminals under its charge, the STL has also made benches in waiting areas off limits and will station hand sanitizer dispensers in waiting areas for users and in rest areas for employees.
5. Measures for paratransit service
In cooperation with its paratransit service providers Chartrand inc. and Taxi Co-op Laval, the STL says it is getting ready for the reopening of activities in Laval while maintaining specific precautionary measures to protect employees and users, including:
· Wearing of mask and goggles or visor by drivers
· Hand sanitizer for users before boarding
· Cleaning of minibuses and taxis between trips
· Thorough disinfection of minibuses daily
· Limit of 2 users per minibus / 1 per taxi (backseat only)
· Some taxis are outfitted with a plexiglass barrier separating the front and back of the vehicle
· Wearing a face covering strongly recommended to users
6. Additional measures being evaluated
The STL says certain extra measures are also being evaluated, such as posting the number of riders on buses, to help users plan their commutes.
In the meantime, the STL is asking users for cooperation for the protection of other passengers and drivers. Users are therefore required to avoid using public transit:
· If under mandatory isolation
· If taking the bus is not absolutely ESSENTIAL
· If they have Coronavirus symptoms (fever, new or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, sudden loss of smell without nasal congestion – with or with loss of taste)
Businesses are also being encouraged to continue to opt for working-from-home arrangements for employees and rescheduling shifts to avoid overcrowding buses during peak hours. Similarly, the STL is asking users to avoid commuting during peak hours when possible. Laval residents are also being encouraged to avail themselves of the many sustainable mobility alternatives at their disposal: biking, electric BIXIs, carpooling with people living together, etc.
NEW PUBLIC TRANSIT ETIQUETTE RULES
In addition, to avoid spreading the virus aboard STL vehicles, they are asking for everyone’s cooperation on these requests:
· Do not eat on buses
· Do not leave any trash behind
· Wear a face covering
· Practice social distancing whenever possible (especially when purchasing passes and tickets, while waiting for the bus or to board the bus, while walking)
· Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible
· Apply recommended hygiene measures (coughing in elbow, frequent handwashing, discarding tissues safely, avoiding touching your face, etc.)