Been on a bus lately?
Fake question. There’s only one answer. The right answer is No. Unless, of course, you are taking—or providing—an essential trip or service. 🙂
“We’re happy that most of our riders are choosing to stay home and leaving space for essential workers,” said Eddie Robar, Branch Manager, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS). “It keeps everyone, including our Operators, safe.”
Here is one sign of what Robar is talking about: as of April 7, transit ridership is down 74 per cent in the age of COVID-19.
There are other signs, too. Like the ones now popping up on ETS buses. To drive home the importance of physical distancing and to travel only if it’s essential.
Politely avoid fellow riders
“Not to worry. People from the same household can still sit together, but the rest of the time, politely avoid fellow riders,” Robar said. Even if there isn’t a seat sign, customers are asked to find a seat where there isn’t anyone directly in front, beside or behind them.
The signs reinforce other safety moves from ETS. All in-service buses have shields to protect Operators. Passengers, if able, board buses through the back door. ETS also encourages those who must use transit to travel, if possible, at off-peak times, to make more space for everyone on board.
Signs of the times
ETS is not alone in the at-all-other-times strange message to give each other room on the buses during essential travel. Check out what routes other cities are taking to spread the word, not the virus.
Saskatoon brought the facts:
New York brought attitude with the facts:
Houston celebrated the workers behind the signs:
In The Netherlands, the signs reminded transit customers that keeping their distance is actually a gesture of kindness:
Less people watching 👀
Fewer customers on buses means less chance for the transit pastime of people watching. May we suggest counting the number of health safety messages? Or check out social media from ETS and other transit agencies to find the most heartfelt or sassiest calls to action. Try @takeETSalert @MTA @METROHouston @TransLink @TTChelps
(And then clean your phone when you get in from the outdoors.)
Thanks for reading. Stay safe, everyone.