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Keeping you safer

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to change rapidly. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) acknowledges that there are essential services – including public transit – that must continue to allow the city to function. OC Transpo is working closely with Ottawa Public Health to make transit as safe as possible. Every step along the way, our priority is the health and safety of our employees and customers.

Working together with OPH and the City of Ottawa’s Office of Emergency Management, we proactively track and quickly respond to incidents of COVID-19 among OC Transpo staff.

What we're doing to keep you safer

Transcript and text description

Time Transcript Text description
0:00 [Music] At OC Transpo, we’ve been working with Ottawa Public Health to make transit as safe as possible. Aerial view of Line 1 train; customer walking toward entrance to Tunney’s Pasture Station.
0:04 Please don’t use transit if you’re not feeling well, have had contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, or recently travelled outside Canada. Customer approaches fare gates, coughs into elbow, stops and turns away from station.
0:11 We’re good to go at OC Transpo, Multiple masked customers boarding Line 1 train.
0:12 so put your mask on and let’s go. Masked customers onboard bus.
0:13 OC Transpo, City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health logos appear.

All health and safety measures have been developed in close consultation with Ottawa Public Health and are in line with provincial and federal guidelines.

Cloth masks

Sign graphic with photo of a masked customer accompanied by the text: Keep your mask on and keep smiling. Woman wearing a cloth face mask inside a Line 1 station.

Customers and employees are required to wear cloth masks or face coverings that cover the nose and mouth when using OC Transpo.

Exceptions

In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

  • Children under the age of 2
  • People who have difficulty breathing
  • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

Masks should be worn before entering buses, trains, bus shelters, stations, and Para Transpo buses and contracted taxis.

How to safely put on and remove a cloth mask *

*An accessible version of this text can be found on ottawapublichealth.ca.

Visit Ottawa Public Health’s website for information about wearing a mask, where to get a mask and other resources.

Protective shields

OC Transpo Operator seated at the wheel of a bus wearing a cloth face mask. The Operator area is protected by a soft shield made of clear plastic.

Protective shields are installed at the front of all buses for the safety of operators and customers.

Trains have a separate operator cab that provides protection for rail operators.

Front-door boarding

Two riders wearing masks boarding at the front door of a bus.

Board at the front of the bus to open up more space for customers.

Customers who can are reminded to exit using the rear doors.

Pay at the front

Customer tapping his Presto card as he boards at the front of the bus.

Customers must pay fares when boarding the bus.

Customers can pay using touch-free methods, including dropping cash fares into the fare box and obtaining a transfer, or tapping a Presto card.

Customers with Presto or U-Pass cards are encouraged to continue to board at the back when possible and tap their cards there.

Hand sanitizer

Woman wearing a mask using a hand sanitizer dispenser at a Line 1 station.

Hand sanitizer dispensers are available at all O-Train stations and most Transitway stations.

Customers are encouraged to pump some on before they jump on – and again after their trip.

Para Transpo masks and face shields

Para Transpo Operator posing in front of a Para Transpo vehicle while wearing a surgical mask and face shield.

Para Transpo operators wear surgical masks and face shields.

Face shields take the place of protective shields around operators on conventional buses and trains.

One customer per trip on Para Transpo

Masked Para Transpo customer exits a Para Transpo vehicle with the assistance of a Para Transpo Operator wearing a surgical mask, face shields, and gloves.

Para Transpo trips continue to be limited to one customer per trip while ridership levels are low.

This will continue as long as all Para Transpo customers can be accommodated.

Reminders not to use transit if you’re sick

Man covering a cough with his arm outside a Line 1 station.

New signage is installed to remind customers to stay home if they’re not feeling well, have had contact with a confirmed or suspected covid-19 case, or recently travelled outside Canada.

Around the clock cleaning

OC Transpo employee posing in front of a bus wearing goggles, a face mask, and gloves and holding cleaning supplies.

Following Ottawa Public Health guidelines, OC Transpo is conducting enhanced sanitizing and cleaning of all vehicles and stations around the clock.

Safer door-to-door

Transcript and text description

Time Transcript Text description
0:00 [Music] Public transit moves people and will be essential to moving our city forward during the economic recovery. Early morning views of Bayview Station; trains departing Tunney’s Pasture Station.
0:08 The good news: thanks to measures OC Transpo has put in place in close consultation with Ottawa Public Health, we’re returning to full service on June 28th. A view of the concourse at Hurdman Station; aerial view of a train approaching Lees Station; close up of bus operator wearing cloth face mask; customers wearing face masks entering the fare gates at Lyon Station and on the concourse at Lyon Station.
0:18 Starting June 15th, customers and OC Transpo staff must wear cloth masks in stations and onboard trains and buses. Para Transpo operators will wear surgical masks and face shields. Please put yours on before getting on. Views of customers and OC Transpo staff wearing cloth face masks.
0:34 Hand sanitizer dispensers are now installed in all o-train stations and most Transitway stations. Customers are encouraged to pump some on before they jump on–and again after their trip. Views of customers using hand sanitizer dispensers in Line 1 stations.
0:46 Protective shields have been installed around bus operator cabs so customers can board and pay fares at the front, starting June 15th. A bus arrives, the doors open to show protective shield around bus operator. Customers board and pay at the front door of the bus.
0:55 Bus volumes at major transfer stations are being controlled to help reduce crowding in stations and on train platforms as much as possible. Aerial views of Hurdman and Blair Station with buses arriving.
1:05 Enhanced and approved sanitizing and cleaning of trains, buses and stations is happening around the clock. Views of workers cleaning trains, buses and stations.
1:15 Customers who aren’t feeling well, are being reminded not to use transit. A customer coughing as he arrives at a transit station turns around and leaves before entering.
1:21 “Hi, I’m Dr. Vera Etches. Let’s each all do our part. Wear a cloth mask, sanitize your hands, and stay home if you’re sick.” Dr. Vera Etches stands in front of a Line 1 station and speaks on-camera wearing a mask.
1:30 We’re good to go at OC Transpo, so put your mask on and let’s go. Customers boarding and riding trains and buses wearinCg masks. Train departs station. OC Transpo, City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health logos appear.

Everyone uses public transit in their own unique way. Take a moment to review the best ways to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 at each stage of your trip. Thanks again for your cooperation - now let's go!

Illustration of a complete door-to-door transit trip.

Illustration of a complete door-to-door transit trip.

1. Before your trip

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The first stage, at your house is highlighted

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The first stage, at your house is highlighted

  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well, have had contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, or recently travelled outside Canada.
  • Bring a cloth face mask or alternative with you on your trip. All customers and employees are required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while taking transit and inside both shelters and stations.

    Exceptions

    In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

    • Children under the age of 2
    • People who have difficulty breathing
    • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

    Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

  • Plan your trip using the Travel Planner.
  • Enhanced cleaning of vehicles and stations occurs around the clock, including frequently touched surfaces.
Headshot of a man with glasses wearing a cloth mask Headshot of a young girl wearing a cloth mask
Headshot of a woman with glasses and backpack wearing a cloth mask Older passenger in front of train, not wearing a mask (exception)

2. On a bus or Para Transpo

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The second stage, on the bus or Para Transpo, is highlighted.

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The second stage, on the bus or Para Transpo, is highlighted.

On a bus

  • Wear a cloth face mask or alternative during your trip. All customers and employees are required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while riding the bus.

    Exceptions

    In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

    • Children under the age of 2
    • People who have difficulty breathing
    • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

    Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

  • Board at the front of the bus and exit at the back of the bus. If you are riding in the Cooperative Seating area, you may continue to exit by the front doors.
    • You can also board at the back on articulated and double-decker buses, and any bus inside a fare-paid zone.
  • Pay your fare at the front of the bus. Drop cash into the fare box or tap your Presto or other smart card to pay your fare touch-free.
  • Speak with the Operator through a soft plastic shield protecting the Operator area if you have any questions. This plastic shield makes front-door boarding and using the space at the front of the bus safer.
  • Take a seat and remember the Cooperative Seating area is intended for those who need to sit.
  • Skip the jump seat on Nova buses. The seat directly behind the operator on these bus types is blocked as an additional safety measure.
Mask awareness poster on front door of bus A woman boarding the front door of a bus, the operator in the background behind protective shield
Bus driver in the driver’s seat of bus, behind a protective shield Bus operator wearing a mask, buses in the background. An older woman riding transit wearing a mask Two passengers sitting on a bus, side by side, wearing masks

On Para Transpo

  • Wear a cloth face mask or alternative during your trip. All customers are required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while riding Para Transpo.

    Exceptions

    In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

    • Children under the age of 2
    • People who have difficulty breathing
    • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

    Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

  • Para Transpo Operators wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, face shields, and gloves.
  • Pay Para Transpo fares touch-free using ParaPay. Operators will accept cash payments as well.
  • Para Transpo trips are limited to one customer per trip while ridership allows it.
Bus operator assisting passenger to board bus, both people are wearing masks. A Para Transpo operator wearing a protective face shield and mask, Para Bus in the background
Para Transpo customer not wearing a mask, boarding bus Para Pay Logo

3. At a station

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The third stage, at the station, is highlighted.

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The third stage, at the station, is highlighted.

  • Wear a cloth face mask or alternative during your trip. All customers and employees are required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth while riding the train and inside stations.

    Exceptions

    In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

    • Children under the age of 2
    • People who have difficulty breathing
    • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

    Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

  • Observe the face mask and self-check signs at the station. Only enter the station if you are wearing a cloth face mask and are feeling well.
  • Tap your Presto card or other smart card, or scan your paper transfer, at the fare gates for touch-free payment.
  • Use a ticket machine to purchase single-ride tickets or DayPasses. Touch screens, PIN pads, and other common touch points on the ticket machine receive enhanced cleaning.
    • Remember to give other customers space when you are waiting to use the ticket machines.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you enter the station and when you transfer. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located at every Line 1 station and most Transitway stations.
  • Speak with O-Train Ambassadors at major transfer stations along Line 1.
    • Remember to keep your distance when speaking with employees.
Mask awareness signage in the station. Woman using the hand sanitizer dispenser
Man wearing a colorful mask Customer wearing mask using the ticketing machine.
Female O-Train Ambassador, wearing a red-vest uniform and mask Attendant cleaning the ticket machine inside station

4. On a train

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The fourth stage, on the train, is highlighted.

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The fourth stage, on the train, is highlighted.

  • Wear a cloth face mask or alternative during your trip. All customers and employees are required to wear a face mask while riding the train.

    Exceptions

    In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

    • Children under the age of 2
    • People who have difficulty breathing
    • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

    Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

  • Board at any door. Customers with bicycles should board at the first door of the train.
    • Be sure to spread out and use all the space along the platform.
  • Stand at the markings on the floor to help keep a safer distance from other riders.
  • Wait for other riders to exit the train before you board the train.
  • Take a seat and remember the Cooperative Seating area is intended for those who need to sit.
Woman on the station platform, wearing a mask Two attendants inside the station with cleaning equipment, both wearing safety vests and masks
Man riding the train, wearing a mask Mother and daughter riding the train, both wearing mask

5. At your destination

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The final stage, at your destination is highlighted.

Illustration of a door-to-door transit trip. The final stage, at your destination is highlighted.

  • Use hand sanitizer before you exit the station.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you reach your destination.
  • Dispose of single-use face masks in a garbage bin. Please do not discard used masks or other PPE on the vehicle or on the ground.
Woman wearing a cloth mask, station in background Hand sanitizer sign and dispenser at the station

Enhanced cleaning

Transcript and text description

Time Transcript Text description
0:00 [Music] At OC Transpo, we’ve been working with Ottawa Public Health to make transit as safe as possible. Cleaning staff cleaning stairway in line 1 station as train arrives; close up of staff cleaning ticket machine in Line 1 station.
0:04 We are now conducting enhanced sanitizing and cleaning of trains, buses and stations around the clock. Cleaning staff sanitizing a train interior, bus interior and Line 1 station fare gates.
0:11 We’re good to go at OC Transpo, Multiple masked customers boarding Line 1 train.
0:12 so put your mask on and let’s go. Masked customers onboard moving train.
0:13 OC Transpo, City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health logos appear.

Since the the beginning of the pandemic, we have enhanced our cleaning measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to perform enhanced daily cleaning of all vehicles, stations, and employee areas to keep our transit network as safe as possible.

Where we're cleaning

Buses

  • All common touch points on a bus are cleaned and disinfected before going into service, including:
    • Fare card readers and the fare box
    • Stanchion posts, hand straps, and handrails
    • Seats
    • Stop buttons and pull-to-stop cords.
    • Buttons used to open back doors when exiting the bus
    • Operator area
  • Bus Operator cabs and their protective shields are also wiped down before leaving the garage with anti-viral disinfectant.
  • Keeping it fresh - the air in buses is filtered and exchanged every 1-2 minutes.
  • On double-decker buses, the HVAC vents near the Operator cab are taped down to keep recirculated air out.
  • If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with a bus, the vehicle will be immediately removed from service to undergo deep cleaning.

O-Trains

  • Line 1 contractors have brought on additional cleaning staff and are committed to enhanced cleaning.
  • Every surface on a train, from the floor to the ceiling, is cleaned and disinfected before going into service, including the Operator cab.
  • Common touch surfaces on in-service trains are wiped down with disinfectant every 8 hours, including stanchion posts, hand straps, and hand holds.
  • Keeping it fresh - the air on trains is filtered and exchanged about every minute.
  • If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with a train, the vehicle will be immediately removed from service to undergo deep cleaning.

Stations

OC Transpo employee wearing Personal Protective Equipment cleaning a ticket machine.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed in all Line 1 stations and many Transitway stations for everyone to use.
  • Additional staff are supporting cleaning efforts around the clock, with high-traffic areas cleaned every 8 hours.
  • Overnight deep cleaning focuses on disinfecting all touched surfaces; including handrails, doorknobs and handles, elevators, escalators, washrooms, glass, and floors.
  • The touch screen, PIN pad, and other touch points on ticket machines receive enhanced cleaning throughout the day.
  • Station doors are locked open, where possible, to reduce touch points when entering and exiting.

Para Transpo vehicles

  • Para Transpo vehicles are wiped down daily with anti-viral disinfectant, including the Operator area.
  • All common touch points within the passenger areas are sanitized as part of enhanced cleaning schedules, including:
    • Handrails
    • Windowsills
    • Floors
    • Ceilings
  • Between trips, the Para Transpo Operator wipes down touched surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Keeping it fresh - the air on Para Transpo minibuses is filtered and exchanged about twice every minute.
  • Ottawa taxi providers that are transporting Para Transpo customers are increasing the cleaning and sanitizing of their vehicles.

Employee vehicles and areas

  • Non-revenue vehicles used by Special Constables, Supervisors, and other staff are wiped down at the start of the employee's shift using an anti-viral disinfectant.
  • Employee areas, such as break rooms and washrooms, are cleaned around the clock.

Para Transpo service

Para Transpo trips will continue to be limited to one client on board per trip, when possible.

All Para Transpo vehicles undergo enhanced cleaning each day. Common touch points are also sanitized with a disinfectant cleaner by the Para Transpo Operator.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been provided to all Para Transpo Operators. Each Operator is equipped with gloves, face shields, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer.

Para Transpo FAQ

For FAQs about Para Transpo applications during the pandemic, click here.

1. Is Para Transpo transporting customers who are going to be tested for COVID-19 or who have tested positive?

If a customer has or is suspected to have COVID-19 and requires transportation to a medical facility or to an assessment centre, OC Transpo will work with the customer to provide them with a transportation option that ensures their safety and the safety of other customers and the operator or driver.

2. Is Para Transpo asking customers to wear a mask?

Yes, all customers are required to wear a mask on Para Transpo vehicles, buses, and trains.

In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, an exception will be made for:

  • Children under the age of 2
  • People who have difficulty breathing
  • Anyone who is unable to remove a mask without assistance

Remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible.

3. What precautions are being taken when the operator secures the customer?

Para Transpo’s number one priority is the health and safety of customers and staff. Operators and drivers will limit close contact as much as possible. We are also limiting the number of customers in a vehicle at one time, cleaning and sanitizing all touch points and following medical advice as it becomes available or changes. We are also trying to segregate more vulnerable customers such as dialysis patients as much as possible.

4. Are Para Transpo vehicles going to hospitals where there is a known COVID-19 outbreak?

Para Transpo is transporting customers to hospitals at certain doors as outlined by the hospitals. We are in communication with local hospitals to ensure proper safety measures are maintained.

5. Are vehicles being sanitized after each trip?

Yes, all vehicles, including buses and taxis, are being sanitized after each trip.

6. Are there partitions between the front and back in the taxis?

Yes, all Para Transpo taxi vehicles have plastic dividers between the front and back seat.

7. Can I bring a support person or companion with me on my trip?

You are allowed to bring one person with you in the vehicle when you travel. Remember though that your companion is responsible to pay a fare when travelling.

If you have medical information on file saying that you need the assistance of a support person for your trip, the support person does not pay a fare. If your file says that a support person is required at all times, you will not be able to travel without having the support person present. If your file specifies you only need a support person occasionally, you need to specify for each trip if the support person is required, so that we can allow for space.

8. Can I still book a Para Transpo trip on a holiday?

Yes, regularly scheduled Para Transpo trips are automatically suspended on holidays, with the exception of Easter Sunday and Remembrance Day. Customers can submit holiday booking requests using the online reservation form or by calling 613-244-7272.

Holiday service

9. Are Para Transpo Operators accepting fare payments from customers?

Yes, Para Transpo Operators continue to accept fare payments from customers.

Thank you, transit workers

Special thanks to all of our frontline workers and staff.

Show your support for our frontline workers on Twitter at @OC_Transpo #thankyouOC

Bus Operators

A bus driver at the wheel looking towards the door

Bus operators may be the face of OC Transpo you see most often. They’re on the front lines working hard to help customers get to essential destinations and home again safely. #thankyouOC

 Download Bus Operators poster

Garage Attendants

Man in work overhauls standing in the entrance bay of a garage

Garage attendants in our 5 garages ensure that hundreds of buses and other vehicles get necessary maintenance and enhanced cleaning. #thankyouOC

Special Constables

A phone on the tracks. Image text: Never ever step on the track, even to get your phone back. Ask an OC Transpo employee or use the emergency phone on the platform for help.

Special constables patrol the entire system 24/7, responding to safety concerns and helping customers whenever the need arises. They’re always here for you. #thankyouOC

 Download Special Constable Appreciation poster

Customer Service Representatives

Picture of a female customer service representative working remotely via video conference on her home computer

Customer service representatives are often your first stop for feedback. They’re on the phone logging and assigning customer concerns, questions, and commendations! #thankyouOC

Mechanics

Man in safety gear standing in front of heavy equipment.

Mechanics keep our fleet running. Their expertise means that when a vehicle needs repair—from a tune-up to a replacement part, we can count on them to do the job and return the vehicle to service. #thankyouOC

O-Train Ambassadors

An O-Train Ambassador smiling, wearing the O-Train Info vest uniform

O-Train Ambassadors work in Line 1 stations, assisting customers with their essential journeys and answering questions. They remain an incredibly valuable part of our team. #thankyouOC

 Download Ambassador Appreciation poster

Dispatchers

Man looking at the camera wearing an headset, smiling, wearing the ATU uniform.

Dispatchers work in the Control Centre, making sure that vehicles are going where they need to be, and assisting our operators when they need it. #thankyouOC

O-Train Operators

A driver standing in front of a train

Our Line 1 electric rail operators are in the driver’s seat every day, working to provide a safe and smooth ride to customers who continue to require transit for essential trips. #thankyouOC

 Download O-train Employee Appreciation poster


Ottawa Public Health resources

If you are feeling sick, stay home and take the online self-assessment.

Contact OPH

To stay informed on the latest COVID-19 developments in Ottawa, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.com or