In a post-COVID-19 world, Toronto transit might start to look a little different, and with reason. With Ontario aiming to slowly reopen the province, a lot of people will be back to relying on public transit once they return to work. And it sounds like some safety measures could continue for a while after the pandemic is over.
Toronto's transit authorities have made numerous changes amid the virus to ensure their employees' and passengers' safety.
But with things heading in a positive direction, Premier Doug Ford has released a framework for how the province plans to reopen the country little by little.
While the majority of workplaces will remain closed for now, the gradual reopening will mean more transit users in the city again.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins shared with Narcity that while it's too soon to predict what permanent transit life will be like in the future, current measures will remain in place as things start to pick up again.
"The measures we have taken during COVID will be continuing as we go back to work. We’ve got several teams making plans for the future as we return to normal. Well, the new normal," Aikins told Narcity by email.
🚍Shielding our bus drivers🚍 We're adding polycarbonate barriers to GO buses for added protection against #COVID19.… https://t.co/mJundcorxo— GO Transit (@GO Transit)1587148054.0
So far, Aikins notes, GO has implemented numerous measures.
They include screens to protect bus drivers, decommissioned seats that are found close to staff for social distancing measures, and the installation of face shields, gloves, and hand sanitizer on transit.
"We have also added screens between staff and customers at all ticket counters and removed the cash handling option," added Aikins.
As for the TTC, they have sectioned off seats in order to ensure social distancing is in place, as well as blocking off some front door entrances to keep passengers away from drivers.
Spokesperson Stuart Green told Narcity by phone that the TTC's measures such as cordoning off seats may continue beyond the pandemic.
However, he added that while hand sanitizers exist at subway stations already, maintaining infrastructure like that on buses might be challenging.
The TTC has been offering health support, too, donating some decommission buses to be used as emergency vehicles.
So, once you're back on that bus, train, subway, or streetcar, know that your commutes are going to be a little different going forward.