Citing safety as its top priority BC Transit is equipping buses with full driver doors. The doors create more of an enclosure for the drivers, creating a barrier between them and riders.
The project started this year and will continue throughout 2020. The first bus testing them rolled out Thursday, Oct. 3 in Victoria.
Communications Manager for BCT, Jonathon Dyck says newer buses will not need to go through this process.
“Retrofitting is underway with all the buses being scanned, from now on any new buses will come with the full driver doors already equipped.
Thanks to a successful trial install, customers will see a bus with a full driver door in Victoria’s regular service starting this afternoon. New buses will be delivered late this year with the full driver door installed & the retrofitting process will start in early 2020 in #yyj pic.twitter.com/DgiPpVsPqE— BC Transit (@BCTransit) October 3, 2019
The enclosures offer the drivers more physical protection and also help with riders trying to speak with drivers while operating a bus, says Dyck.
“It changes the dynamic between riders and operators, that will take time to get used to but in the end, it will improve safety.”
The retrofitting process is quite time-consuming. Each bus needs to be digitally scanned as buses manufactured in different years could have minor variations in dimensions. The process takes two hours per bus to ensure accuracy.
Each retrofit is estimated to cost approximately $10,000. The cost of the whole project is $6.5 million.
The installation of the doors on the buses being retrofitted will all be handled by BC Transit. All installations on new buses will be done by the doors manufacturers AROW Global Corporations. The cost of installations on new buses is not included in the $6.5 million figure.
In Victoria, there are 186 buses that qualify for retrofitting, in all of B.C., there are 650. Buses that are due to go out of service in the next two years will not be equipped with the doors.
The retrofitting to be done in Victoria is set to be completed by early 2020, at which point they will begin installations on Kelowna based buses.