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OC Transpo’s efforts to help prevent spread of COVID-19

Last update: March 17

As you know, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is changing rapidly. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommended that Ottawans strengthen their physical distancing measures and avoid gatherings of all sizes and non-essential travel outside the home. At the same time, OPH acknowledges that there are essential services – including public transit – that must continue to allow the city to function.

OC Transpo is implementing a number of steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, customers and residents.

Our customers

OC Transpo is asking all transit customers 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; or
    • 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; and,
  • When possible, consider physical distancing (ideally 2 metres).
  • Rear-door boarding: For the health and safety of our operators, and to keep our service running, customers are asked to board and exit using the back doors only.
    • Customers with accessibility and Cooperative Seating requirements can still board at the front;
    • Please do not approach operators;
    • We will not be accepting cash fares or paper transfers from customers boarding at the rear of the bus; and,
    • Due to the configuration of some of the buses in our fleet, some customers will not be able to tap their Presto cards when they board.
  • Practice physical distancing (2 metres, when possible) in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • Stagger your commute times, if possible, to help lessen the volume of passengers during morning and afternoon peak periods.

OC Transpo’s enhanced cleaning efforts

Conventional Bus Operations

  • Bus operator cabs are being wiped down daily with anti-viral disinfectant. OC Transpo is also providing this disinfectant for users of non-revenue vehicles (Special Constables, OC supervisors, etc.) for start-of-shift wipe downs.
  • Cleaning schedules for our conventional bus fleet will include utilizing disinfecting/sanitizing products for operator areas and all common touchpoints within our customer areas.
  • Customer areas will receive sanitizing on handrails, stanchion posts including stairwells as per established cleaning schedules.

Rail Operations

  • Our contractors for both Line 1 and 2 have brought on additional cleaning staff and are committed to enhanced cleaning of both stations and rail vehicles. 
  • Every rail vehicle going into service will have had every surface from floor to ceiling cleaned and disinfected, including operator cabs.
  • These enhanced teams will be disinfecting every surface nightly. As more resources become available, we will move to performing targeted cleaning of rail vehicles while in service. This will include wipe downs of surfaces that experience regular touching such as stanchions, hand straps and hand holds.
  • Cleaning of rail stations on Line 1 will also be enhanced with additional staff both day and night.
  • Overnight deep cleaning will focus on disinfecting all touched surfaces, including vending machines, handrails, doorknobs/handles, elevators, escalators, washrooms, glass and floors. 
  • Additional resources are also being brought in to do daytime cleaning in stations with the target of cleaning high traffic areas in each station every eight hours.

Para Transpo Operations

  • For the safety of our customers and our operators, the scheduled cleaning of Para Transpo vehicles will be enhanced to include daily sanitizing of the Operator area and the cleaning of common touch points such as handrails, windowsills, floors and ceilings within our passenger areas.
  • OC Transpo has been in contact with Ottawa taxi providers, who have advised that they are taking steps to increase cleaning and sanitizing of their vehicles, including those used to transport Para Transpo customers.

Customer Service Staff

  • OC Transpo’s Customer Service Centres are being temporarily closed. Customers can use these alternatives:
    • prestocard.ca
    • Ticket machines at O-Train stations
    • Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstore locations (depending on store hours)
    More information about Customer Service Centres closures
  • Contact points with customers such as fare vending machines will receive enhanced cleaning with appropriate sanitizer products.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, OC Transpo will continue working closely with Ottawa Public Health to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public. As information changes, we will keep our customers apprised.

To stay informed on the latest COVID-19 developments in Ottawa, please:

Visit OttawaPublicHealth.com or