Barrie Transit extends free service until July 2, tests protective barriers to safeguard drivers

Barrie Transit riders can continue to use the service free until July 2

Barrie Transit customers will be able to continue riding for free until July 2 as the City moves to extend the service beyond the original June 1 date.
The July 2 date is appropriate for a number of reasons, council was informed in a memo from Brent Forsyth, director of transit and parking strategy. Stated reasons are:
• Barrie Transit is testing protective barriers for bus operators that will help ensure their safety against COVID-19, and allow a return to front-door boarding. This is a critical step to reintroduce paid service. The goal is to outfit the entire fleet with these protective barriers by July 2. 
• Another key consideration of reintroducing paid service is to have sales agents available at the transit terminal for riders to purchase fare products ahead of reintroducing paid service. The extension to July 2 will provide adequate time to confirm the viability of reopening the bus terminal to the public which includes: reviewing and introducing safety measures for staff and the public, rehiring and scheduling staff, ensuring we have systems, equipment, and fare products ready and available to serve the community. 
• An extension to July 2 will allow for adequate time to communicate plans and key information to the community. This can include informing riders of the intention to return to paid service, required safety measures within the terminal facility, and any potential fare adjustments needed, such as temporarily suspending the use of ride cards as a way to reduce driver-passenger contact.
• Allowing for adequate time to properly consider other logistical changes required in the new environment, such as resting and washroom facilities for staff and patrons. 
 “We believe July 2 is a realistic target for returning to paid service, however we will continue to remain flexible amidst new information and commit to updating members of council as we finalize details and move closer to this target date,” reads the memo