As long as Halifax Transit continues to be exempt from social gathering and distancing rules, it's putting drivers, and the public at risk according to the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 508.
Ken Wilson telling NEWS 95.7 people will get sick as a result of these actions. He's reporting they are regularly seeing buses fully loaded with passengers forced to sit side by side without any following of the social distancing rules. He says if this continues, it's not going to help flatten the curve.
The union says it's good Halifax Transit agreed to suspending fares, and to allowing loading from the back in order to spread people out, but that's not doing enough during this pandemic. Wilson says other jurisdictions like Moncton and Saint John are doing more, including limiting the number of people allowed on a bus at any given time.
Last week, Halifax Transit announced they were limiting the number of passengers on each bus to just the seating capacity - so nobody should be standing for the duration of the trip.
The ATU wants only essential workers to be using the bus for travel at this time, and to limit the number of passengers allowed on. Wilson knows this will potentially mean people will take longer to get to their destination, but he says at least they will do so in the safest way possible.
Wilson adds if a grocery, or healthcare worker gets the virus on the bus, they could transfer it along to hundreds, or potentially even thousands of other people.
While these issues are being worked out, the a-t-u is calling for a 24 hour pause in service.