With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, the Toronto Transit Commission has implemented new rules for bus passengers to help stop the spread of the virus after pressure from both the public and the union representing TTC operators.
In order to allow for greater social distancing, the first rule is that all passengers who do not require an accessibility ramp must board and exit using the back doors only. Second, Presto cards and Presto tickets, which can be purchased at subway stations, will be the only valid form of payment. Cash, tokens, youth, and senior tickets will no longer be accepted.
However, the company reassured that nobody will be denied service if they don’t have a Presto card. The TTC’s customer service account wrote on Twitter: “We aren't going to deny service to anyone if they don't have PRESTO. We’d like you to pay at your next opportunity (streetcar or station) if possible.”
The agency claims that daily ridership has decreased by over 70% since the virus outbreak, forcing them to reallocate all 900-series Express routes and all 140-series Downtown Express routes where needed. However, some passengers have pointed out that with the buses coming less and less frequently, this has lead to overcrowded bus rides that makes social distancing nearly impossible.
The TTC assures the public that they are adhering to Toronto Public Health’s guidelines. TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said on Twitter that since January, staff have been "conducting daily sanitizing/wipe downs of hand rails/straps on vehicles and in stations, including hand rails on stairs, elevator buttons and touch points in public washrooms.”