Thursday morning rail news in brief:
BART announces ‘Welcome Back Plan’
Bay Area Rapid Transit has introduced a 15-step “Welcome Back Plan” for riders returning to the San Francisco-area rail system after the COVID-19 lockdown, including use of long trains to accommodate social distancing, increased train frequency as ridership dictates, and a possible new seating configuration for its cars. The agency has determined that with no more than 30 people per car, riders can maintain 6 feet of distancing; with 60 people per car, 3 feet of distancing is possible. Service is currently operationg on 30-minute intervals on weekdays, but the agency says it will increase service to 15-minute intervals during peak periods once data shows trains consistently have more than 30 people on board. And with BART’s new “Fleet of the Future” providing for modular seating, the agency says it will try a new seating arrangement that could help create space between riders. The full plan is available here.
Four-day shutdown set to address O-Train issues
Ottawa’s O-Train light rail Confederation Line will begin a four-day shutdown on Sunday, as the Canadian capital’s troubled eight-month-old system takes advantage of the decreased ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for more testing and maintenance. The CBC reports bus service will replace the light rail service during the shutdown. Reliability issues continue to plague the system, with its private operator, Rideau Transit Group, declining to provide a timeline for improved service [see “News Wire Digest second section for April 9”].