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Archived - Three things OC Transpo is doing to help lessen the spread of COVID-19

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March 16, 2020
Feature Stories

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing our day-to-day lives. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends that we practice social distancing, avoid gatherings of all sizes and avoid non-essential travel outside the home. Yet there are essential services – including public transit – that must continue so that the city can function.

So, what is OC Transpo doing to help protect the health and safety of staff, customers and residents?

  1. Updated cleaning and disinfecting procedures
  • Buses - All buses are wiped down daily with anti-viral disinfectant. This includes common touchpoints in customer areas including handrails, stanchion posts and stairwells.
  • Trains - Every train will be cleaned and disinfected from floor to ceiling before starting service. This includes wiping down surfaces that experience regular touching such as stanchions, hand straps and hand holds.
  • Stations – Extra staff have been brought in to clean all rail stations day and night. Daytime cleaning is focusing on cleaning high traffic areas in each station every eight hours. Overnight deep cleaning will focus on disinfecting all touched surfaces, including vending machines, handrails, doorknobs, handles, elevators, escalators, washrooms, glass and floors. Hand sanitizer stations have been ordered and will be installed at all light rail transit and bus rapid transit stations when available.
  • Para Transpo – Vehicles will be cleaned daily, including sanitizing common touch points such as handrails, windowsills, floors and ceilings within passenger areas. Taxi providers will be increasing cleaning and sanitizing of their vehicles, including those used to transport Para Transpo customers.
  1. Protecting operators and customers
  • Operators – Operator areas on all buses and trains are cleaned and disinfected daily. OC Transpo is also providing disinfectant to Special Constables, OC supervisors, etc. to wipe down surfaces of their vehicles at the start of each shift.
  • Customers – Your assistance is essential to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa.
    • Do not use public transit if:
      • You have a fever and/or new onset of cough or difficulty breathing
      • You have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
    • While you are in stations or riding buses or trains:
      • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
      • When possible, practice social distancing (ideally 2 metres)
      • Stagger your commute times, if possible, to help lessen the volume of passengers during morning and afternoon peak periods
  1. Rear door boarding for buses
  • Customers are asked to board and exit using the rear doors only. Customers with accessibility requirements can still board at the front.
  • Tape will be installed to separate the operator cab and accessible seating areas from the rest of the bus in order to maintain social distancing
  • Cash fares and paper transfers will not be accepted at the rear doors. Customers boarding at the back who normally pay with cash do not need to pay. Some customers may not be able to tap their Presto cards when they board. This is a necessary cost to protect the safety of staff and customers.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, OC Transpo will continue working closely with OPH to ensure appropriate steps are being taken to protect the health and safety of staff and the public.

Please visit or follow @OttawaHealth on Twitter to stay informed on the latest COVID-19 developments in Ottawa.

For more information on City programs and services, visit or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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