With more businesses permitted to reopen, and more Ontarians returning to work, the Province is working to ensure those who are going back to work can get there safely.
In order to ensure Ontario’s transit networks can continue to operate safely, the Province is providing comprehensive health and safety guidance documents as well as funding to cover lost revenue, enhanced cleaning and other costs incurred because of COVID-19.
The funding totals $2 billion which will be split among 110 municipalities with transit systems as part of the Safe Restart Agreement.
In the first phase, over $660 million in funding will help cover lost revenue and new costs incurred due to COVID-19, including the installation of driver protection barriers and passenger hand sanitizer stations.
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Additionally, the Province is providing municipalities with $15 million to cover the cost of enhanced cleaning for transit systems.
“Whether you take public transit to work or school, I want everyone to know that we are doing all we can to make sure you can get to your destination as safely as possible,” Premier Ford said in a news release.
“Public health measures like mask requirements and enhanced cleaning measures on transit will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure people can safely go back to work, put food on the table, and get our economy going again,” he continued.
Metrolinx—that has announced it will be increasing GO bus and train services starting September 5—has already implemented more than 40 additional safety measures, which include installing seat dividers on GO trains and buses, making face coverings mandatory for staff and passengers, providing hand sanitizer dispensers on every GO bus and at every GO Transit and UP Express station, and installing health kiosks at dozens of stations to provide safety information.
“People across the province need safe and reliable transit to get where they need to go as the province gradually reopens,” Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, said in the same release.
“That’s why we are continuing to work with our partners to provide the information and support they need to continue to keep public transit systems safe. I want to thank our transit agencies for going above and beyond these past few months to protect riders and workers,” she continued.
Cover photo courtesy of Doug Ford via Instagram