As the Ottawa economy reopens and more riders return to transit, OC Transpo has put in place health and safety measures to keep customers and employees as safe as possible.
Masks are mandatory in all enclosed public spaces. The new temporary by-law also covers OC Transpo property, including in buses, trains, stations and platforms, shelters, Para Transpo minibuses, and contracted taxis.
Mandatory masks have been a requirement for everyone while using the OC Transpo system since June 15, and the new by-law now makes this requirement a formal City of Ottawa regulation.
Exemptions to the mask requirement include:
- Young children
- People with a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask safely
- People who can’t put on or remove their mask without assistance
The decision to make masks mandatory, was made in close consultation with Ottawa Public Health. As physical distancing becomes more and more difficult to maintain with increasing ridership, other measures must be put in place. Not only are masks a sign of respect and consideration for others, but they help protect everyone. The requirement to wear masks will first be communicated through education; however, fines of up to $400 can be issued if required.
OC Transpo continues to remind customers that not everyone can wear a mask, and not all disabilities or medical conditions that prevent someone from safely wearing a mask are visible. As a result, no customer will be denied service if they are not wearing a mask.
OC Transpo has also developed procedures to address the challenges masks can create, especially for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and rely on lip reading. OC Transpo employees have been reminded to be aware of this, to be patient, and to look directly at the customer and speak clearly when the situation requires it. If required, employees may lower their mask to better communicate with a customer. In these situations, customers are asked to keep a distance of two metres from the employee and allow time for the employee to use hand sanitizer before touching their mask.
What OC Transpo is doing to keep you safer:
- OC Transpo will continue around the clock enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of vehicles and stations
- Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at most stations
- Protective shields have been installed around bus operator areas for the safety of employees and customers
- Front-door boarding resumed on June 15, to open up more space for customers. Customers who can are reminded to exit using the rear doors
- OC Transpo offers touch-free fare payment methods, including Presto, or dropping cash fares into the fare box and getting a transfer. Para Transpo customers can use ParaPay, the touchless payment option that lets customers pre-pay their fares
- Para Transpo operators will wear surgical masks and face shields
What you can do to help keep others safe:
- Wear a mask, except for young children and people with a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing it
- Don’t use transit if you’re sick
On June 28, full summer service levels were restored, creating more space for customers on buses and trains. Starting Sunday, August 30, fall service levels resume on most routes to reflect increased seasonal ridership. For more information, visit octranspo.com.
Seniors 65 and older ride at no-charge on Wednesdays and Sundays on OC Transpo buses and the O-Train. To buy a Presto card with a Senior discount, visit a participating Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws or Real Canadian Superstore location, or the OC Transpo Customer Service Centre at the Rideau Centre.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit ottawapublichealth.ca.