LAVAL, QC, May 12, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - The Société de transport de Laval (STL) and its employees are ready to tackle the challenges ahead as deconfinement is set to gradually begin and activities resume under a climate of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To guide the implementation of new measures, the STL has prepared a rolling work plan to protect its users and employees in accordance with the recommendations from the CNESST and provincial public health agency. It has also reprioritized its projects in order to better focus its resources on the new priorities engendered by the pandemic.
Quote from STL Board President Éric Morasse
"The current situation requires all of our units at the STL to work together and pull out all the stops to provide our employees and users with a safe environment. We fully believe our joint efforts will see us through this unprecedented crisis."
Quote from STL General Director Guy Picard
"We are asking users, businesses and employees to embrace a spirit of solidarity and collective responsibility for the common good. We must all adapt to this new reality, which we will have to contend with for many months to come. Adhering to the directives and recommendations requires changing how we do things so we may continue providing this essential service."
MEASURES FOR TRANSIT USERS
1. More bus service
As of May 9, we've upped our regular bus service during the week by 50% to reach 80% of the service we usually provide this time of year. Although ridership numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, we increased bus service to minimize overcrowding, foster social distancing and meet users' commuting needs, all in keeping with the availability of resources. As the economy gradually reopens, we expect ridership levels to increase in the coming weeks, which will further complicate practicing social distancing when using public transit.
2. Wearing face covering strongly recommended
As per the recommendations from public health authorities, the STL strongly urges public transit users to wear face coverings. To encourage this practice, the STL, jointly with exo, the RTL and the STM, will start distributing some reusable face coverings to users. As a reminder, posters are installed on buses and in bus terminals. Face coverings constitute an extra preventive measure when in public, which must be paired with all other appropriate protective measures (coughing in elbow, frequent handwashing).
3. Maintaining increased cleaning
Since the pandemic began, the STL has adapted its cleaning procedures and upped its cleaning frequency across its operations, i.e. vehicles, terminals, offices and garage. These exceptional measures will remain in effect for as long as the situation warrants it.
4. Measures in terminals
In addition to increasing cleaning operations in the three Laval terminals in its charge, the STL has also made benches in waiting areas off limits and will station hydroalcoholic solution dispensers in waiting areas for users and rest areas for employees.
5. Measures for paratransit service
In cooperation with our paratransit service providers Chartrand inc. and Taxi Co-op Laval, we are getting ready to the reopening of activities in Laval while maintening specific precautionary measures to protect employees and users, including:
- wearing of mask and goggles or visor by drivers
- hydroalcoholic solution for users before boarding
- cleaning of minibuses and taxis between trips
- thorough disinfection of minibuses daily
- limit of 2 users per minibus / 1 per taxi (backseat only)
- some taxis are outfitted with a plexiglass barrier separating the front and back of the vehicle
- wearing a face covering strongly recommended to users
6. Additional measures being evaluated
Certain extra measures are being evaluated, such as posting the number of riders on buses, to help users plan their commutes.
MEASURES FOR EMPLOYEES
STL employees provide an essential service. It is STL's responsibility to protect its employees since it is because our drivers and maintenance employees' hard work that make it possible to provide as much service as possible, with helps for users' social distancing.
1. Distribution of face coverings
We are currently distributing reusable face coverings to all STL employees who request one.
2. Office and garage setups
As per the recommendations outlined in the COVID-19 guide for workplace health measures in the public transit sector (CNESST), the STL has implemented special measures and setups in its various workplaces in order to better protect employees. They include the installation of plexiglass on transportation centres counters for clerks and warehouse workers, signage with specific instructions on limiting the number of people in common areas, and floor stickers for social distancing purposes. Some procedures have been adjusted and some employees have been equipped with additional protective gear, as per CNESST guidelines. Also, offices, garages and common areas are cleaned and disinfected on an ongoing basis, in accordance with CNESST standards. All teams receive awareness raising notifications and information on a regular basis urging them to follow recommended hygiene measures.
3. Protective measures for drivers
In addition to maintaining a two-metre protective buffer zone behind the driver, the STL is developing a solution with a physical barrier as a way of further isolating drivers from users.
USER COOPERATION IS ESSENTIAL
These are new times, and the STL is asking users for their cooperation for the protection of other passengers and drivers. Users are therefore required to avoid using public transit:
- If under mandatory isolation
- If taking the bus is not absolutely ESSENTIAL
- If they have Coronavirus symptoms (fever, new or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, sudden loss of smell without nasal congestion – with or with loss of taste)
Businesses are encouraged to continue to opt for working from home arrangements and rescheduling shifts to avoid overcrowding buses during peak hours. Similarly, the STL is asking users to avoid commuting during peak hours when possible. Laval residents are also being encouraged to avail themselves of the many sustainable mobility alternatives at their disposal: biking, electric BIXIs, carpooling with people living together, etc.
NEW PUBLIC TRANSIT ETIQUETTE RULES
In addition, to avoid spreading the virus aboard our vehicles, we are asking for everyone's cooperation, namely:
- Do not eat on buses
- Do not leave any trash behind
- Wear face covering
- Practice social distancing whenever possible (especially when purchasing passes and tickets, while waiting for the bus or to board the bus, while walking)
- Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible
- Apply recommended hygiene measures (coughing in elbow, frequent handwashing, discarding tissues safely, avoiding touching your face, etc.)
IN THE MEANTIME
During these unpredictable times, the STL is ready to apply any new recommendations issued by the provincial tactical taskforce, made up of experts from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), the Institut national de la Santé publique (INSPQ), Québec trade unions and public transit authorities.
For a complete rundown of the measures in place, visit bit.ly/STL-COVID-19
About the Société de transport de Laval
The STL develops and operates an integrated network consisting of buses, school transport, shared taxis, and paratransit transport which together combine for 19+ million trips per year. The STL's regular bus network consists of 46 routes, some 2,700 stops and covers over 1,400 kilometres across the Laval territory. The STL is among the most innovative transit authorities in the world. www.stlaval.ca.
SOURCE Société de transport de Laval
For further information: Estelle Lacroix, Communications Advisor, Société de transport de Laval, 450 662-5400, ext. 8388, [email protected]