Restoring Trust in TransitPublished on September 02, 2020
The health and well-being of transit workers and all Ontarians while taking public transit is a top priority. Ontario’s public transit systems are critical to supporting the economy and getting people where they need to go as the province gradually reopens.
As the province safely and gradually reopens, it is imperative that we do everything we can to protect those planning to take a GO train, subway, bus or streetcar. We want everyone who takes transit to feel safe. Ontario has provided public transit systems with comprehensive health and safety guidance documents as well as significant funding to cover costs incurred because of COVID-19, including over $660 million through the federal Safe Restart Agreement and $15 million to enhance cleaning.
To protect riders and staff on GO Transit, Metrolinx has increased the frequency of deep cleaning, installed seat dividers, located hand sanitizer dispensers at bus and train stations, and set up health and safety information kiosks at stations, where passengers can even choose to get their temperature checked. Transit operators across Ontario have done an incredible job ensuring that people who need to get around, including our frontline workers, have safe and reliable transit service during the outbreak.
The Ministry of Transportation, in consultation with public health and transit officials, has produced a guidance document specifically designed for public transit systems and passengers. The comprehensive guidance document outlines strong recommendations, best practices and tips to support and protect the health and safety of transit staff and passengers, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to reassure the public that taking public transit is safe. As people return to work and school, it is our expectation that transit systems will have reviewed the guidance document and adopted these recommendations, best practices and tips, where feasible and appropriate.
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is providing up to $4 billion in urgently needed one-time assistance to Ontario’s 444 municipalities. In collaboration with federal partners, the province is delivering up to $2 billion to help Ontario municipalities keep their transit systems running and relieve financial pressures created by COVID-19 as part of the Safe Restart Agreement
Funding will flow to municipalities in two phases.
- In the first phase, the province is providing over $660 million for immediate relief to cover lost revenue and new costs incurred because of COVID-19.
- $1.334 billion will flow in phase 2, later in 2021, after municipalities report their expenses up to the end of March 31, 2021.
This funding will support transit services so people can get where they need to go as our province reopens and people return to work. Through this historic agreement, municipalities will have the support and flexibility they need to address budget shortfalls related to COVID-19, help limit the spread of the virus, and chart a path to a strong recovery for their communities.
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