COVID-19 Information for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry in B.C.

This web page has information on COVID-19 specific to those involved in the commercial passenger vehicle industry in British Columbia.

Last updated: August 17, 2020

In-Person Inquiries Suspended

Effective March 16, 2020, no in-person inquiries may be made at the Coquitlam office where the Passenger Transportation Branch is located. This precaution is to maintain proper physical distancing for the health and safety of both branch staff and stakeholders. You may contact the branch by phone or by email.

We will notify passenger transportation licensees by email once it is safe to return to in-person inquiries.

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures that are in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. WorkSafeBC has developed resources to help you do this

Industry Updates

 

August 17, 2020 - Update to PT Licence Renewal Process During COVID-19

To print this Industry Notice and to fill out the required Cover Page (located on page 3), download Passenger Transportation Licence Renewal Process during COVID-19 (PDF, 199.8KB)

Industry Notice

PT Licence Renewal Process During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Effective April 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021

Original publication date: March 30, 2020
Second publication date: July 2, 2020
Third publication date: August 17, 2020

In response to inquiries from the commercial passenger vehicle industry regarding the impact of COVID-19 on operations, the Registrar of Passenger Transportation (Registrar) has made temporary changes to the licence renewal process. This notice outlines the regular and the optional, modified licence renewal process for General Authorizations and Special Authorizations.

Regular Licence Renewal Process

Under section 34 of the Passenger Transportation Act, a Passenger Transportation Licence expires annually, and licensees must apply to the Registrar to renew a licence.

To renew a licence, licensees

  • Submit the Notice to Renew form prior to the expiry date of the licence;
  • Pay the related licence fees; and
  • Submit the required documentation listed in the Notice to Renew form.

Under the regular process, the Registrar will not renew a licence until all of the above has been submitted and payment has been collected.

Temporary Modified Licence Renewal Process

Licensees that have ceased operations have the option to submit the Notice to Renew form prior to their licence expiry date and defer payment and the submission of required documentation. This process is available to licensees with a licence expiry date between April 1, 2020 and June 1, 2021.

If a licensee chooses this option, the Notice to Renew form must be submitted before the licence expiry date. This form is a declaration of intent to renew services either before the date that is one year after the initial licence expiry date, or before June 30, 2021 (whichever comes first). At that time, licensees are expected to pay and submit required documentation as per usual, and then the Registrar will renew the licence.

For example, an operator that chose to defer renewal of a licence that expired on May 7, 2020 has up to one year (until May 7, 2021). In contrast, an operator with a licence expiry date of November 16, 2020 can defer their licence renewal until June 30, 2021.

In addition to the Notice to Renew form, licensees choosing to use the modified licence renewal process must also complete and submit the Cover Page provided on page 3 of the PDF version of this notice and have it signed by your signing authority.

Renewal fees will be pro-rated to cover only the months when the licensee’s vehicles were operational.

The modified licence renewal process is optional. Licensees can choose to follow the regular renewal process outlined in the Licence Renewal Information to receive their licence and continue operating without interruption.  

For Licensees who do not renew their Licence

If you do not renew your licence, once the expiry date passes, it will expire and you will be required to apply for a new licence should you wish to operate in the future. For General Authorization licensees, an application for a new licence will be required for the Registrar’s decision. For Special Authorization licensees, a new licence application will be submitted for decision to the Passenger Transportation Board.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the Passenger Transportation Branch by phone or by email.

Telephone:    604 527-2198 or toll free through Service BC at 1-800-663-7867

Email:             passengertransportationbr@gov.bc.ca

Sincerely,

Registrar of Passenger Transportation

This publication by the BC Trucking Association (BCTA) has been reviewed by WorkSafeBC and the Province. It is consistent with guidelines published by Transport Canada. The BCTA has graciously allowed us to share this document with others in the passenger transportation sector.

Passenger Transportation licensees who operate motor coaches may value it as a resource.

It may also be a helpful example of COVID-19 safety protocols for other licensees.
 

COVID-19 Best Practices for Motor Coach Operators for the Safe Transportation of Passengers

The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) supports actions by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

To help support the continued operation of the motor coach sector to serve passengers and the tourism industry, BCTA has developed these best practice guidelines for industry to follow for as long as provincial health orders related to COVID-19 remain in effect, including those restricting public gatherings, in addition to the general guidance provided in BC’s Restart Plan and through the BCCDC. Individual operators should assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission and develop company-specific policies. Operators may also wish to review guidance from WorkSafeBC’s transportation industry COVID-19 information and resources (including topics such as "Charter & Inter-Urban Motor Coach" and “Transit vehicles & operators/drivers,” in the drop down menu under the heading "Controlling the risk of COVID-19 exposure – Transit sector”), and resources from the Passenger Transportation Branch such as the two June 2, 2020, notices to industry.

Motor coach operators, or delegated third parties such as tour operators where feasible, should inform staff and passengers regarding the provincial health officer’s guidance on physical distancing, good hygiene practices, and staying home if you have symptoms.

Exposure Control Measures for Drivers/Staff

  • Encourage physical distancing between employees and passengers (minimum of 2 metres) and discourage physical contact, including during loading and unloading. As per Transport Canada’s guidance, it is strongly encouraged for drivers and passengers to wear non-medical masks/face coverings when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Maintain distance between the driver and the seats immediately behind the driver using a barrier, or closing those seats off to passengers, or by other means.
  • Increase regularly scheduled cleaning with a disinfecting agent such as antimicrobial disposable wipes or a bleach solution, particularly high traffic and high contact areas inside each coach/bus and shared office spaces. For coaches/buses, this includes cleaning the steering wheel, dashboard, radio/telematics devices, armrests and washrooms, etc.
  • Drivers should have access to disposable wipes, or disinfecting agents to sanitize any frequently touched hard surfaces, and gloves if cleaning high touch surfaces. For additional guidance on PPE for drivers, see Transport Canada’s document Personal Protective Equipment and their Uses by Commercial Vehicle Drivers.
  • Encourage passengers to remove their own garbage at the end of a trip or use the provided garbage disposal unit within the bus.
  • HVAC should be on if it is using fresh air, at the highest setting possible, and filters should be changed regularly.
  • Require drivers to thoroughly wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after fueling or visiting a public establishment.
  • If applicable, drivers/staff should use disposable gloves while loading luggage and use a fresh pair for each new trip, unless a pair of gloves has been designated for this purpose. Drivers/staff should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer once loading of luggage is complete.
  • Drivers/staff should not report to work if they feel ill.
  • Drivers/staff who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, dry cough, etc.) should be required to inform their employer and contact a health care practitioner, 8-1-1, or use the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool (https://covid19.thrive.health/), if they have come in contact with anyone who has COVID-19, or if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, and act on the instructions of the tool/health practitioner. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate (for at least 10 days or 24 hours after symptoms resolve, 14 days if they have been outside of Canada) pending test results, unless otherwise instructed by a health practitioner.
  • Ensure the driver is aware of the protocol for when a passenger becomes ill during a trip.

Exposure Control Measures for Passengers

  • Screen passengers for symptoms of COVID-19 using either: 1) a series of questions (see below for an example), and/or 2) by taking each passenger’s temperature through an infrared thermometer. Passengers should be denied boarding if they answer yes or refuse to answer any screening questions. Passengers with symptoms or a temperature indicating fever should be refused transportation and referred to the provincial government self-assessment tool, consistent with Transport Canada COVID-19 travel restrictions.
    • Screening questions are from Transport Canada’s Questionnaire for Health Check, required for all ferry/vessel operators until at least June 30, 2020, as per its COVID-19: Guidance Material for Passenger Vessel and Ferry Operators.
      • 1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
      • 2. Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
      • 3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
      • 4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?
  • For transportation of passengers in which all passengers are equipped with and asked to wear a non-medical mask/face covering, no adjustments for seating will be made.
  • For the transportation of passengers who are unable to wear non-medical masks/face coverings, adjustments will be made to motor coach seating to maintain safe physical distancing between these riders and other passengers if they are from different households by maintaining empty seats.
  • Maintain a passenger manifest of those traveling for charter services and elsewhere where feasible, for later use by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) for contact tracing, should a passenger test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of the trip.
  • Install temporary signage on the bus encouraging passengers to wear non-medical masks/face coverings at all times during the trip.
  • Consider providing hand sanitizer for passengers at easy access points, such as at the front of the bus.
  • Encourage online, electronic, or touchless payment options.

Resources to share with passengers

To print this Industry Notice, download Next Steps during COVID-19 for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry (PDF, 283.1KB)

Industry Notice

Your company may have developed a COVID Safety Plan for your business in recent weeks if your company maintained operations as an essential service. If not, now is the time to develop one.

This Industry Notice builds off the previous notice Best Practices for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry during COVID-19 and complements BC’s Restart Plan, a phased approach to restart B.C.’s economy in the midst of the pandemic. Following the May long weekend, the Province entered the second of four phases. The province was able to enter phase two due to the combined and successful efforts of British Columbians to flatten the curve of this virus.

Establishing a New Normal

Phase two is not a return to normal; individuals and businesses must do their part to maintain important safety measures and establish a “new normal” as we await further directions from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). Companies must demonstrate they can operate safety while getting back on their feet.

COVID Safety Plan for Workers

WorkSafeBC is here to help and is the primary source of information for employers on ensuring a safe work environment for workers.
 

  • For Industry Associations: WorkSafeBC will work with you to ensure the direction and guidance you provide your members meets the requirements set out by the PHO
  • For Employers and workers: WorkSafeBC will work with you through education materials, consultation and workplace inspections

To get started, visit these WorkSafeBC web pages:
 

These pages include access to a COVID Safety Plan template with step by step instructions and checklists of items to consider.

COVID Safety Plan for Passengers

There is no requirement for our sector to create a specific COVID Safety Plan for Passengers, but as this is your business, the inclusion of passengers in your safety plan is advised.

Within the commercial passenger vehicle sector, there is no “one-size fits all” approach. Taxis are different from ride-hailing vehicles, which are different from buses, which are different from limousines. You must assess your business and make a custom-plan. We can refer you to the Orders you must consider as you create or revise your Safety Plan for passengers, and provide you with guiding principles.

Orders of the Provincial Health Officer

The PHO has issued a number of Orders and these must be followed for affected sectors. The PHO may issue more Orders still, or adjust Orders already issued.

The Order Workplace Safety Plans was published on May 14, 2020. This Order is relevant to all employers and requires that a COVID-19 Safety Plan be posted to your website (if you have one). You must also provide a copy of your plan to a health officer/WorkSafeBC officer if asked.

Currently there is only one order specific to the transportation sector, entitled Traveller and Employers. This Order is relevant to:
 

  • All persons entering Canada through B.C.
  • All persons coming to B.C. after entering Canada after April 8, 2020
  • Employers or Travellers who are essential workers
  • Travellers who are essential workers who are permitted to work by their employers

If this Order is applicable to your business, you must follow it until the PHO suspends the Order.

Additionally, the Order published May 14, 2020 entitled Mass Gatherings (where 50 or more people are not allowed to gather) is still in effect, and may be relevant to bus services.

Guiding Principles

The PHO has advised of controls for employers to consider in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 including:
 

  • Elimination: this is the first level of protection. Use policies and procedures to limit the number of people in a workplace or ensure people are at least 6 feet from others.
  • Engineering controls: this is the second level of protection. If you can't always maintain physical distancing, install barriers such as plexiglass to separate people. 
  • Administrative controls: this is the third level of protection. Establish rules and guidelines, such as posted occupancy limits for shared spaces, and one-way doors or walkways to keep people physically separated.
  • Personal protective equipment: This is the fourth level of protection. If the first three levels of protection aren't enough to control the risk, consider the use of non-medical masks. Be aware of the limitations of non-medical masks to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets. Ensure workers are using masks appropriately

Each business must assess the risks that exist for them and consider how to implement these controls. Those controls should be considered in the following order of priority:

Infographic of the COVID-19 hierarchy of control measures

The protocols you create for your business should involve multiple controls to provide protection for your passengers. At this point, none of these controls are official Orders, and businesses are able to create custom solutions that allow you to re-open your business while maintaining a safe environment for all.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Thank you,

Passenger Transportation Branch

To print this Industry Notice, download A Safe Restart for the Commercial Passenger Bus Industry during COVID-19 (PDF, 284KB)

Industry Notice

Your company may have developed a COVID Safety Plan for your business in recent weeks. If not, now is the time to develop one.

This Industry Notice builds off the previous notice Best Practices for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry during COVID-19 and complements BC’s Restart Plan, a phased approach to restart B.C.’s economy in the midst of the pandemic. Following the May long weekend, the Province entered the second of four phases. The province was able to enter phase two due to the combined and successful efforts of British Columbians to flatten the curve of this virus.

Establishing a New Normal

Phase two is not a return to normal; individuals and businesses must do their part to maintain important safety measures and establish a “new normal” as we await further directions from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). Companies must demonstrate they can operate safety while getting back on their feet.

COVID Safety Plan for Workers

WorkSafeBC is here to help and is the primary source of information for employers on ensuring a safe work environment for workers.
 

  • For Industry Associations: WorkSafeBC will work with you to ensure the direction and guidance you provide your members meets the requirements set out by the PHO
  • For Employers and workers: WorkSafeBC will work with you through education materials, consultation and workplace inspections

To get started, visit these WorkSafeBC web pages:
 

These pages include access to a COVID Safety Plan template with step by step instructions and checklists of items to consider.

COVID Safety Plan for Passengers

There is no requirement for our sector to create a specific COVID Safety Plan for Passengers, but as this is your business, the inclusion of passengers in your safety plan is advised.

Each member of our bus sector has different goals and needs:

  • Some serve passengers seeking access to essential services; others depend on tourism
  • Some operate routes solely within B.C.; others cross provincial, or international borders
  • Some offer seasonal services only
  • Operators use a variety of bus sizes with varying capacity levels
  • Profit margins are different for each operator

Due to these complexities, there is no “one-size fits all” approach. We are unable to tell you how many passengers should be in your buses. It also depends on the nature of the passengers: are they from the same household? Physical distancing is not required for members of the same household, so each trip you run will be unique to the passengers on board.

You must decide how many passengers are allowed in your buses based on an assessment of your business.  We can refer you to the Orders you must consider as you create or revise your Safety Plan for passengers, and provide you with guiding principles.

Orders of the Provincial Health Officer

The PHO has issued a number of Orders and these must be followed for affected sectors. The PHO may issue more Orders still, or adjust Orders already issued.

The Order Workplace Safety Plans was published on May 14, 2020. This Order is relevant to all employers and requires that a COVID-19 Safety Plan be posted to your website (if you have one). You must also provide a copy of your plan to a health officer/WorkSafe BC officer if asked.

Currently there is only one order in relation to the transportation sector, entitled Traveller and Employers. This Order is relevant to:
 

  • All persons entering Canada through B.C.
  • All persons coming to B.C. after entering Canada after April 8, 2020
  • Employers or Travellers who are essential workers
  • Travellers who are essential workers who are permitted to work by their employers

If this Order is applicable to your business, you must follow it until the PHO suspends the Order.

Additionally, the Order published May 14, 2020 entitled Mass Gatherings (where 50 or more people are not allowed to gather) is still in effect, and may be relevant to bus services.

Guiding Principles

The PHO has advised of controls for employers to consider in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 including:
 

  • Elimination: this is the first level of protection. Use policies and procedures to limit the number of people in a workplace or ensure people are at least 6 feet from others.
  • Engineering controls: this is the second level of protection. If you can't always maintain physical distancing, install barriers such as plexiglass to separate people. 
  • Administrative controls: this is the third level of protection. Establish rules and guidelines, such as posted occupancy limits for shared spaces, and one-way doors or walkways to keep people physically separated.
  • Personal protective equipment: This is the fourth level of protection. If the first three levels of protection aren't enough to control the risk, consider the use of non-medical masks. Be aware of the limitations of non-medical masks to protect the wearer from respiratory droplets. Ensure workers are using masks appropriately

Each business must assess the risks that exist for them and consider how to implement these controls. Those controls should be considered in the following order of priority:

Infographic of the COVID-19 hierarchy of control measures

The protocols you create for your business should involve multiple controls to provide protection for your passengers. At this point, none of these controls are official Orders, and businesses are able to create custom solutions that allow you to re-open your business while maintaining a safe environment for all.

For information on COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Thank you,

Passenger Transportation Branch

 

March 25, 2020 - Best Practices for the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry during COVID-19

To print this Industry Notice, download Best Practices for Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry during COVID-19 (PDF, 147.9KB)

Industry Notice

This Industry Notice advises companies and drivers of commercial passenger vehicles of best practices during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Best Practices for Companies:

  • Hand Hygiene: Make hand hygiene products available to your staff and drivers
  • Cleaning: Increase the frequency of office cleanings and pay special attention to high contact areas like photocopiers, light switches and door handles
  • Remote work: Enable your office staff to work from home if possible to reduce the number of people at the office
  • Physical Distancing: Advise those who remain at the office to not congregate in close contact during breaks and to maintain physical distancing of two metres. Adjust work spaces as able to provide additional distance between employees
  • Unwell Employees: Support your staff and drivers to stay home if they are sick
  • Communicate: Ensure your customers and employees know what you are doing to support their safety and to prevent the spread of the virus

Best Practices for Drivers:

  • Wash your hands regularly, including after re-fueling, after each client interaction, before eating, and at the beginning and end of every shift with soap and water for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Keep soap and water or hand sanitizer in your vehicle to allow for this
  • Clean the vehicle after each passenger trip, such as sanitizing surfaces and interior/exterior door handles. Do this immediately after passengers exit the vehicle
  • Keep windows open as much as possible when transporting passengers to allow for air circulation
  • Limit the number of passengers in a vehicle and have them sit as far from the driver and other passengers as possible to support physical distancing. Family groups can sit together in the back seats
  • Exchange payment outside of the vehicle and promote the use of tap or phone payments (if applicable)
  • Sanitize all shared spaces of the vehicle at the end of your shift, including the steering wheel, gear shifter, dashboard, and electronic devices

These best practices are consistent with the advice of our provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. These simple measures can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

General Safety Measures for the Public

In addition to the industry-specific measures above, all members of the public should adhere to these common sense practices:

  • Stay home if sick
  • Frequent hand washing, for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Do not share food or drinks
  • Practice physical distancing

Public gatherings larger than 50 people are not permitted at this time as they do not allow for proper physical distancing. Avoid all non-essential travel, both out-of-country and at home.

Steps to Take if Exhibiting Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficult breathing.

Any person concerned they may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should access the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool. The assessment may advise a person to contact 8-1- 1 or 9-1-1 for further direction. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate, which means staying home and not going to work. For more information on how to self-isolate and for long here, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control – Self-Isolation.

If someone exhibits symptoms but is unable to access the Self-Assessment Tool, they should self-isolate and call 8-1-1 if they need health information or advice to manage their symptoms, or if their symptoms worsen. Additionally, if someone has come in contact with anyone with COVID-19, they must self-isolate immediately and take the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool.

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Thank you,

Passenger Transportation Branch

To print this Industry Notice, download COVID-19 Response (PDF, 133.1KB)

Industry Notice

This Industry Notice is with regards to COVID-19 and the safe interaction of passenger transportation licensees and staff of the Passenger Transportation Branch (Branch). COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, is a virus causing an outbreak of respiratory infections around the world.

First, we wish to ensure that you and your family have the most accurate information available to you about COVID-19 in our province, which is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

With regards to day to day business operations, we ask that effective immediately no in-person inquiries be made at this time, and instead inquiries be directed to the Passenger Transportation Branch by phone or by email only. This precaution is to maintain proper “social distancing” as advised by health officials, which is an increase in distance between people in order to avoid the possible spread of this virus.

Contacting the Branch by phone or by email will support your health and safety as well as that of our staff. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Telephone: 604 527-2198 or toll free through Service BC at 1-800-663-7867

Email: passengertransportationbr@gov.bc.ca

We will notify you again by email once it is safe to return to in-person inquiries.

Thank you for your understanding,

Passenger Transportation Branch