Transit Announces Free Buses & Reduced Service to Fight COVID-19

Although the buses are still running, Guelph Transit has announced that they’re taking steps to protect drivers and passengers while still keeping up transit services in the midst of the continuing battle against the spread of COVID-19.As of March 18, changes will be coming to how you ride Transit, but it will also be coming with a greatly reduced price tag.

Starting Wednesday it will be free to ride Guelph Transit until April 15, which will remove the need for people to handle money or their transit passes, and it will also remove the need for people to visit shops and City Hall in order to buy their passes and tickets, including the OnYourWay fare card.

With the buses being free, and people no longer having to show proof of purchase, transit users are being asked to enter and exit the bus through the rear doors to mitigate contact with the operator. Passengers with accessibility needs will still be able to access the front door so that they can use the ramp to get on and off the bus.

Also starting Wednesday, the schedule for Guelph Transit will be reduced. All routes will be operating on their Saturday schedule of every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday, and buses will continue operating on their regular service on Sundays. Transit though is cancelling late night bus service for University of Guelph students, who, as reported yesterday, are being asked to vacate campus housing.

Finally, people who are feeling unwell, or have traveled outside of Canada over the last two weeks, are being asked to avoid using transit for the time being. Mobility service customers are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel, and that passengers will be screened since many mobility users are older people who are more at-risk to the effects of COVID-19.

“We know service interruptions are disruptive and inconvenient, but we think it’s the best way to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 and protect our the health and safety of our customers and employees,” said Robin Gerus, Guelph Transit’s general manager, in a statement.

The County of Wellington is also taking steps to protect people using Ride Well, their ride share service that delivers people to destinations around the county, including stops in Guelph, from 6 am to 7 pm every weekday.

Starting Wednesday, Ride Well will only allow one booking per vehicle and will restrict multiple bookings from using the same vehicle for the time being. This may cause delays in service, and people are being asked to have patience if cars aren’t as available as they usually are.

Ride Well drivers have also been directed to carry cleaning items to disinfectant their vehicles frequently throughout the day. However, if you’re someone with a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, or have traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, the County is asking you to not use Ride Well.

These moves echo similar changes to transit systems in the Guelph area. VIA Rail has reduced trips along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor by 50 per cent, while GO Transit has adjusting train schedules across all lines, including the Kitchener line. GO train service has being reduced to three trains in the morning, and three trains in the evening, and you can see the full schedule here.

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