Bus drivers will soon be separated via tempered glass from passengers.
BC Transit announced this week a $6.5-million project to add full driver doors to new and existing buses throughout the province, including most of the Kamloops fleet.
The transparent doors are laminated tempered glass with an anti-glare coating and metal base. According to BC Transit, they can be adjusted to account for sight lines and will still allow passengers to see and speak with drivers.
New buses will see them installed later this year, while a retrofit program for existing buses will begin early next year, through 2022.
BC Transit communications manager Jonathon Dyck said the program aims to increase driver safety. BC Transit has made other strides to that effect, adding CCTV cameras to buses, partnering with local police agencies, enhancing communication technology and providing drivers with training to de-escalate situations that may arise onboard.
Kamloops also recently got rid of the transfer system as part of a new rate structure at the request of BC Transit, in part to reduce driver-passenger conflicts. Dyck said doors are increasingly used by transit agencies across the continent. Asked what is happening to drivers, Dyck cited “very rare” assaults on board. He could not provide local statistics.
Kamloops has a total of 69 buses, including HandyDARTs. Fourty-seven of them will be part of the retrofit program, which will begin in Victoria and move to Kelowna.
The rest of the schedule will be determined at a
Any new regular buses that come to Kamloops earlier, however, will include the new doors. The cost to the City of Kamloops could not be provided by BC Transit.