June 03, 2020

Welcome to the COVID19 rider resource page. Here you’ll learn about what we’re doing to keep you safe, and things you can do to keep your fellow riders safe. We are committed to connecting you to the people and places you care about by providing safe, courteous, reliable and accessible transit service.

Current situation

Provincial and Municipal Relaunch – Stage 2
Transit Service – Reduced service

What we’re doing to keep you safe

Introducing a touchless payment system

We've introduced My Fare, a mobile ticketing app that allows you to use your smartphone to buy and display your fare. This means you won’t have to touch machines or paper tickets and you won’t have to go to a vendor to buy your tickets/passes in person.

Distributing non-medical masks

For a limited time, our staff are handing out masks at stations throughout the system on weekday mornings (between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m.) and we have masks available for pick up at our two customer service centres downtown. 

We’re handing out one mask per person, but if you’re picking up an additional mask for a neighbour or friend, just let us know.

Remember that these masks are for one-time use only and should be thrown in the garbage when you’re done with them, to help reduce risk for others.

Limiting our seating

About half of our seats on our buses will be blocked off with signage to promote physical distancing. Please practice the same etiquette on CTrains and keep two metres distance from fellow passengers.

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Please sit only in unmarked seats. No standing please.

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Do not board the bus if you feel ill or have flu-like symptoms.

Cleaning all vehicles and facilities

We’re working hard to thoroughly clean all of our vehicles and facilities, to ensure we are providing a safe workplace for our employees and customers. We are disinfecting all grab rails, stanchions, steering wheels, buttons, etc. and are spraying a commercial hospital-grade disinfectant on high-touch surfaces inside of the vehicles. Check out our deep cleaning video.

Cleaning crews are boarding CTrains and buses throughout the day to disinfect high-touch surfaces. Between cleanings, they are disinfecting high-touch surfaces at CTrain stations and major bus loops and terminals, such as benches, ticket machines and grab rails.

Peace officers patrolling and fare verifications

Our peace officers have increased their patrolling and verifying fare payment, resulting in decreased incidents of public disorder and a safer transit system for everyone.

When encountering passengers who are unable to produce valid fares, peace officers are asking these individuals to leave the train, purchase a fare and catch the next train. We are not issuing these individuals provincial violation tickets for fare evasion offences. 

Limiting station building access

To prevent large gatherings and improve physical distancing on our system, the following station buildings are closed all hours of the day:

  • SAIT/AUArts/Jubilee
  • Victoria Park / Stampede 
  • Erlton 
  • Heritage 
  • Southland 
  • Anderson 

Chinook and Southland station bus loop shelters are closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
When the station building is closed, please use the wheelchair and stroller friendly at-grade crossing entrance to access the platform for the Red Line CTrain.
Ticket vending machines are available at the at-grade crossings for you to purchase your fare.
We’ve placed wayfinding signs to help you navigate where to go. 

Our expectations of riders

To keep us all safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, we ask that you:

Practice good hygiene habits

  • Help prevent the spread of all viruses (including COVID-19) with a few simple hygiene habits.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze by using the inside of your elbow or shoulder.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash with soap and water.
  • And please stay home if you’re feeling unwell.

Respect physical distancing

Please keep two metres distance from others whenever possible. On buses, sit only in unmarked seats and please don’t stand. Board buses using the rear doors. (If you require a ramp, please board at the front doors). On CTrains and at platforms, maintain two metres distance from others at all times.

Wear a face covering

Wearing a mask is not mandatory while taking transit; however, together with social distancing and hand washing, it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re encouraging our customers to wear a cloth face covering when riding with us to keep each other safe.

We are also encouraging our employees to wear face coverings and have provided every employee with three reusable coverings.

Pay your fare

With our shields now installed on all buses and front door boarding beginning again, we are able to collect all fare payment types in our fare boxes. If you are not using the new My Fare mobile ticketing app, please place your cash or tickets in the fare box when you board the bus. If you require a transfer, let the operator know and they will place it on the fare box for you to pick up. 

Your feedback

If there are areas for improvements, we want to hear from you! Every Thursday we do a pulse check to see how we’re doing and improve where we can. Check out the results and link to the weekly survey here.

What we’re doing for employees

Our operators come into contact with hundreds of customers a day and their safety is extremely important to us.

Installing barriers to limit contact

We’ve installed barriers on all our buses and community shuttles to limit contact between our operators and customers. This will help keep us all safe, as we return to front-door boarding. 

Front seat closures

We have closed off the front seats of shuttle buses and the jump seats directly behind the operator on NOVA buses, to further keep physical distance between operators and customers.

Cleaning kits

We are equipping every vehicle with hand sanitizer for operator use and providing operators with personal cleaning kits.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Customers

Do I have to wear a mask?

Wearing a cloth mask is not mandatory while taking transit, however, together with social distancing and hand washing, wearing a face covering helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re asking our customers to work with us on slowing the spread by volunteering to wear a cloth face covering when riding with us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to keep each other safe.

Why are you cancelling service when things are starting to ramp up?

We are responding to changes in demand and revenue and don’t anticipate ridership to return to pre-pandemic levels immediately. We have seen a significant loss in revenue and it is very difficult to maintain service levels. As the city gradually re-opens, we will continue to monitor our service levels and make changes as necessary.

Is transit free?

No. Transit fares are still in effect. We are not offering paper transfers or accepting cash payment for the duration of the state of local emergency.  We are trusting Calgarians to be honest and pay their fares.  Customers with a single-use ticket can tear them and use the ticket for 90 minutes to travel / transfer.  Fare payment is an important part of being able to continue to provide transit service. We are currently losing approximately $13 million per month and it is very difficult to sustain transit service under those circumstances. We will be looking to increase fare enforcement in the coming weeks.

Why do I need to pay a fare?

The pandemic has significantly reduced our ridership and fare revenue. We rely heavily on revenue from fares, which accounts for approximately half our operating cost per trip. We are asking Calgarians to support us so we can continue providing essential services to our city.

 When will we get transit service back to where it was?

We expect the service reduction that’s beginning on May 25 to last until September. We will continue to monitor our service and make changes as necessary for September service. September service may not look the same as it did before the pandemic began, and will depend on demand and ridership.

Will there be more cuts to service?

Decisions to cut service are made very carefully, understanding that our customers rely on us to get where they need to go. We don’t have plans to further cut service at this time, but it will depend on ridership and revenue from fare collection.

Some buses are full, what are you doing to address that?

We continue to monitor our bus service daily, using information from operators, customers, and staff who go out in the network to count riders on our buses. If we see routes that have consistent overloads, we will try to add service to those routes. 

For Employees

When service resumes, what happens to the employees that were laid off?

We’re not sure when ridership and demand for transit service will start to increase, but that will be a major factor in deciding when to increase service levels. We will continue to monitor the situation and will add service as things improve. If and when we decide to add service, the required number of employees will be recalled according to the appropriate collective agreements.

Do I need to wear a mask/face covering?

Choosing to wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering is an individual decision. We’re asking our operators to volunteer to wear cloth face coverings in situations where keeping 2 metres of space isn’t possible. If you choose to wear a cloth mask, you’re joining customers who have also made the choice and together, we can work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe.

When will the shields be installed in shuttle buses? What is the plan for big bus?

Shield installation on shuttles is complete. We’re now working on a big bus shield prototype, but have not yet confirmed a solution that works. Once we have landed on an approved shield, we will install on all big buses and then be able to review our rear-door boarding policy.

Do we collect fares?

We depend on fare revenue to keep transit going. Recent decreases in revenue from fare collection have significantly contributed to service cuts and layoffs. We are currently losing approximately $13 million per month due to loss in revenue. Although we do not expect operators to enforce fare payment, it is important to inform customers that they do still require fares. We rely on our customers to be honest during this challenging time.

Were other options considered instead of layoffs?

We did consider a number of options, but these options were not accepted. The loss in revenue is significant and unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to layoff employees.

I’m having a hard time getting through to the HR service centre, what should I do?

Please reach out to your HR business partner or email the CT Notifications email that was provided to you in your information package. If you do not know who your HR business partner is, please reach out to your supervisor.

For Calgarians

Should I wear a cloth face covering?

We are asking our customers and operators to join together in volunteering to wear cloth face coverings in situations where keeping 2 metres of space isn’t possible. Agreeing to wear masks together means we’re all doing our best to protect one another and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Why are we making cuts when we are re-opening the city?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts to our ridership and revenue. Currently, we are losing approximately $13 million per month. We do not anticipate ridership to return to the same levels prior to the pandemic in the immediate future. We will continue to monitor service and make adjustments as ridership and demand start to increase.

What are other cities doing?

Other cities in Canada have been approaching transit service in a similar fashion. Some cities have seen aggressive layoffs and service cuts, while others take a modest approach to service reductions. Each city is unique and has their own opportunities and challenges. Representatives from all transit agencies within Canada meet regularly to share information about what they are doing, what challenges they have and what measures have brought them success.

Why are buses running with less people?

We still provide transit service to over 100,000 customers per day. Transit remains an important service to Calgarians that connects them to places that matter to them, including hospitals, work and the grocery store. In order to provide physical distancing, our buses are running with approximately 50 per cent capacity.

Why does my street now have a big bus when it used to have a community shuttle?

In order to help provide social distancing for customers, we have replaced shuttle buses with bigger buses on some of our busier routes.