TransLink ranked last in Canada for ‘most’ riders wearing masks, data shows

In a post mask-mandate world in British Columbia, data obtained by Transit app shows the majority of TransLink users are not wearing a mask.

According to data collected by Transit app, 26 per cent of TransLink trips are mostly masked while using the transit service as of April 25.

However, Canada’s average public transit masked rate is around 70 per cent, ranking TransLink as the transit agency with the lowest mask usage in the country.

Transit app started collecting this data on April 16 through an interceptive survey on their smartphone app asking riders if most, some, or very few transit users are wearing a mask.

“In terms of mask wearing, one of the reasons that we published this, and why we want to publish it openly is so that people could compare, there’s no data. Nobody knows what’s going on out on the street. Everything else is anecdote,” said David Block-Schachter, CBO, Transit app.

Block-Schachter says he believes the data collected from the app is fairly accurate and widespread as it receives around 1000 responses each day from TransLink users.

Looking across the country, Transit app data shows Montreal’s transit service, the Société de transport de Montréal is recorded as having 90 per cent of most users wearing a mask as of April 25. While the Toronto Transit Commission is just below 75 per cent.

Block-Schacter adds this survey is part of a larger program for the app, aiming to compile enough data to be able to show users while looking at a transit route what percentage of trips have had people wearing masks, and the rate of mask wearing.

Transit app is also working with some transit agencies to customize the questions specific for the company.

According to TransLink, it does not collect any data on mask wearing due to it not being mandated by the province.

“We know that B.C. has one of the highest vaccination rates, and we continue to follow the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer. Anecdotally, we have seen the majority of our customers continue to wear masks when taking transit and we continue to welcome masks on our system,” Tina Lovgreen, TransLink spokesperson says in a response to City News.

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A Vancouver doctor is warning the public, even with no current rules on wearing masks in the province there are still situations that call for me them.

“I think that in COVID world right now, you should be wearing a mask on public transit,” says Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Brian Conway.

Conway adds if you’re not wearing a mask on public transit confined in a space with people you don’t know, “transmission is likely to occur.”

The Transit app serves more than 200,000 riders each month in Vancouver, and more than 300,000 in the province according to Transit app.

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