FAQ for Transit Customers
With a rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, the City of Hamilton is undergoing proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. HSR is committed to providing a service that meets the needs of our customers.
City of Hamilton Transit Customer COVID-19 Question & Answer
Disclaimer: These question and answers (FAQs) will be updated periodically as circumstances require but should not be viewed as constituting public health or legal advice.
To obtain the latest advice from Public Health authorities, all persons are strongly encouraged to periodically review these websites:
Is it safe to ride the HSR?
HSR continues to be a safe method of travel. We remain committed to the health and safety of our staff and customers and are consulting with City of Hamilton Public Health Services.
Is a face covering required while using public transit?
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, HSR is asking customers to consider wearing a face covering on public transit. It is not mandatory, but can help protect others in spaces where physical distancing can be hard to maintain.
The City wants to remind customers that transit continues to be for essential travel only. Operators are committed to providing a safe, reliable and professional service and will do their best to limit instances of over-crowding by monitoring the boardings of 10 or 15 customers the best they can, while safely operating buses. The public is reminded to adhere to the public health measures that have been put in place.
What is your cleaning protocol?
HSR has several measures in place in addition to a daily standard cleaning protocol. The entire fleet has had a complete hard surface wipe down with sanitizing wipes, as well as a full bus antimicrobial fogging treatment. There is a wipe down of all hard surfaces every other day with sanitizing wipes in addition to the regular cleaning.
Beginning Thursday March 19, certified technicians were onsite to begin applying the the AEGIS Microbe Shield treatment to all buses. The application of this product is done by multiple crews concentrating on one vehicle per application. In addition to a high concentration on the driver’s area, it was also applied to the following high touch surfaces:
- Seat back cushions
- Seat bottom cushions
- Head rests
- Head rest hand grips (all surfaces)
- Window sills, window panels, yellow call strip / bell cord
- Arm rests (all surfaces)
- Stanchions (all surfaces)
- All grab bars (all surfaces)
- Box and cabinet surfaces and locks / handles
Each application and wipe down takes a full crew of 7 people per bus for a half hour, followed by a half hour dry time. Vehicles that have been treated will have a round green sticker on the rear-view mirror installed for quick identification. This can be seen from the outside of the vehicle.
- The AEGIS Microbe Shield forms a durable chemical bond upon application and remains chemically attached to the surface on which it is applied. It functions by electrostatically and physically interrupting the bacterial or viral cell membrane and preventing its ability to survive on a protected surface.
- The AEGIS Microbe Shield destroys any organism with a cell membrane upon contact and will continue to do so until the physical surface has been removed through repeated wear.
- AEGIS provides a long-lasting defence to control the growth and survival of microbes on just about any surface. The modified surface will retain antimicrobial activity for an extended period of time, even after repeated cleanings.
Where can I find information on updated schedules and service disruptions?
Saturday service level schedules have been updated on our website.
Most schedules will be operating on a Saturday schedule on weekdays, with the following exceptions:
|12 Wentworth||Operating on a regular weekday schedule|
|18 Waterdown||Operating on a regular weekday schedule|
|20 A-Line||Operating on a 30-minute frequency during the AM and PM peak only|
|22 Upper Ottawa||Operating on a Saturday schedule to Upper Ottawa at Rymal. An additional early morning trip #22 Upper Ottawa trip will leave MacNab Terminal at 5:20 am. Monday thru Friday, including morning and afternoon peaks, a shuttle will operate from Upper Ottawa at Rymal and service regular bus stops in the Red Hill Business Park. Trans-Cab will continue to operate as it currently does on weekends and holidays.|
Operating on a Saturday schedule with all trips extended to the Ancaster Business Park.
|52A Dundas Local||Operating on a regular weekday schedule.|
|Stoney Creek Industrial Extra||Operating on a regular weekday schedule.|
Note the following differences between weekday and Saturday schedules:
|1A King||Eastgate Square to University Plaza will not operate|
|10 B-Line||Will start at 8:15 am|
|16 Ancaster||Will start at 8:30 am|
|51 University||Will start at 11:20 am|
Weekend service remains unchanged: regular Saturday service will operate on Saturdays and regular Sunday service will operate on Sundays.
Fares – HSR, ATS / DARTS
We are looking at our refund policy and will update as soon as possible.
Until further notice, Customers are not required to pay a fare when they enter the rear door of the bus.
Customers will be required to wait until at least April 6 to purchase any HSR fare products, including tickets, passes, DARTS Books, Taxi Scrip, and renewals of Senior Annual Passes.
Senior Annual Pass holders do not need to renew their passes even though their current Pass may expire March 31, 2020. We want to assure you that you will not be denied service and will have ample time to renew your pass once service is back to normal.
Customers should also refrain from purchasing April Month Passes from the HSR, our vendors, or through PRESTO until further notice.
In order to give customers more time to cancel their auto-renew, Metrolinx has delayed the billing cycles for these agreements PRESTO auto-renew customers have until Friday March 27 to cancel their contract to avoid being charged for April monthly pass. To cancel your auto-renew, visit www.prestocard.ca or call the phone number on your PRESTO card.
Is the Customer Service desk still open at Mountain Transit Centre, 2200 Upper James and Hunter Go Station?
No. Following the announcement from the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health all City of Hamilton facilities will be until further notice.We will provide updates to our customers as soon as they are available.
- Mountain Transit Centre at 2200 Upper James St., Hamilton
- Hamilton City Hall, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton
- All Municipal Service Centres
- 36 Hunter St (HSR Customer Service Centre at the Go Station)
- MacNab Terminal
Will school extras still run after March Break?
School extras will start up again when the school programming resumes.
Until further notice, there is no fare or Trans-Cab premium to be paid, and transfers are not required.
Trans-Cab will now carry only 1 or 2 customers per vehicle, depending on vehicle size (sedan or minivan). This may result in additional wait time depending on vehicle availability.
In the Red Hill Business Park, Trans-Cab service will operate on weekends only, replaced by shuttle bus service Monday through Friday.
Travelling Outbound from HSR bus to Trans-Cab
- Customers board the bus by the back door, no requirement to pay bus fare or premium
- Customers walk to the yellow floor line on the bus and stop (approx. 6 feet from the bus driver)
- Customers notify bus driver that they require Trans-Cab service; no need to obtain a Trans-Cab transfer
- Customers exit the bus at transfer point, via back doors, and board Trans-Cab, no transfer required
Travelling Inbound from Trans-Cab to HSR bus
- Customers phone Blue Line and request a Trans-Cab pick-up, no requirement to pay bus fare or premium
- Customers exit from Trans-Cab at transfer point
- Customers board the bus, at the back door, no Trans-Cab coupon required
Alternative service for HSR customers with wheelchairs, scooters or CNIB card-holders
Effective Saturday April 4, DARTS will be providing bus-stop to bus-stop service for HSR customers using wheelchairs, scooters and CNIB card holders. This will allow those traveling with personal mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters, and CNIB cardholders to travel without a companion. Effective Saturday, April 4, until further notice.
Customers are asked to:
- Call DARTS at 905-529-1717 at least one hour before your desired departure time, or booking up to two days in advance.
- Identify yourself as an HSR customer – if you’re also an ATS/DARTS customer, provide your client number
- Provide DARTS with the bus stop # where you want to be picked up and your desired time of pick-up.Find you bus stop (PDF, 552 KB)
- Provide DARTS with the bus stop # of your destination
- Wait at the bus stop for a DARTS vehicle to arrive and provide your name to the DARTS driver before you board.
- To book a trip and ensure safety, customers will be screened by DARTS based on the current essential travel, health needs, and confirmation of device type or CNIB card policies in place.
- DARTS will book one customer per trip, plus a personal companion, if required. Like HSR, DARTS has additional COVID-19 precautions in place, including increased vehicle cleaning and disinfecting, and application of Aegis microbial shield to the entire fleet.
- DARTS has the complete HSR bus stop number listing along with the addresses and will work with customers to book the trip. HSR Bus stop numbers are also available at HSR Bus Schedules and Fairs. We are asking Customers to arrive at their bus stop 10-minutes before their pick-up time.
- Customers that book a DARTS ride are asked to honour their reservation so that HSR and DARTS can best meet customer and community needs. DARTS will not be able to pick-up HSR customers at bus stops who have not booked in advance due to the requirement of the screening process. If travel plans change, customers are asked to call DARTS as soon as possible to cancel or change booked trips in advance to ensure we are not tying up resource
Effective Friday March 20, 2020 DARTS will be restricting service to ‘Essential Trips’ only and has implemented a three-step screening process by their reservationists.
Essential Trips include:
- Going to work
- Going to the doctor or to other medical treatment
- Going to a lab for any medical testing
- Pick up prescribed medication
- Shopping for groceries or any other necessities
- If the answer is no to all the above, they will not book the trip.
- If yes to any of the above, the reservationist will proceed to ask further questions to determine if the trip can be booked.
- Reservations may only be made up to two days in advance.
Can I call in for Taxi Scrip and DARTS services rather than coming into Mountain Transit Center, 2200 Upper James?
The Taxi Script program is temporarily suspended until further notice. If you are a current Taxi Scrip or DARTS client, you may call 905-529-1717 to book an essential trip, using your Client ID number.
Clients with temporary eligibility will be granted an extension until further notice.
Please note that reservations can be made up to two days in advance (i.e.: DARTS will not be operating as a taxi service). You may call to request a same day trip, but please note that you may not be able to book the exact time you are seeking.
New applications for DARTS service can be emailed to [email protected], faxed to 905-679-7305, or mailed to ATS, P.O. Box 340 Mount Hope, Ontario L0R 1W0 (ATS mail is currently picked up once per week).
What are the precautions DARTS is taking?
Like HSR, DARTS remains committed to the health and safety of their staff and customers. In addition to standard cleaning, DARTS is taking additional proactive actions to address the health and safety of staff and customers, including:
- All vehicles are cleaned and disinfected every evening.
- Drivers are advised to wipe down vehicles throughout their shift
- Posters have been placed throughout the office areas
- DARTS also has an existing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy that drivers follow in the event of any cleanup of bodily fluids on board
- Increasing supply of sanitizing products for use by their Operators and staff
- Effective March 27, all DARTS vehicles will have been treated by certified technicians with AEGIS Microbe Shield treatment.
- All DARTS trips are being screened by a reservationist for essential and critical travel
- To increase physical distancing, DARTS is booking one client per vehicle; one companion or support person may travel with the client
- We continue to remind staff and the community to follow the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services Guidelines to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses
Essential Travel Only
As an additional measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Hamilton, the City and HSR are asking that customers use HSR only if absolutely necessary to pick up essentials such as groceries, to attend medical appointments, or to go to work if they are not able to work from home. Customers experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who are going to an assessment centre for testing are asked to avoid public transit.
What are you doing to increase Physical Distancing?
Customers are requested to practice physical distancing while riding the bus.
Effective Friday April 3 2020, and until further notice, HSR will not be collecting fares.
All customers are required to enter and exit through the rear doors. This includes Customers using wheelchairs, scooters, walkers and all other personal mobility devices (PMD’s.) They are no longer being loaded from front door. To facilitate access to the bus, customers using wheelchairs, scooters, walkers and all other PMD’s will be required to travel with a companion. The companion will be required to deploy the ramp under the direction of the operator. If there is a requirement for the wheelchair or scooter to be secured, the companion will be required to facilitate this as well. HSR will now only be able to accommodate one ( 1 ) wheelchair/scooter per bus regardless of the vehicle size.
In addition, effective Saturday April 4, 2020 DARTS will be providing bus-stop to bus-stop service for HSR customers using wheelchairs, scooters and CNIB card holders. This will allow those traveling with personal mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters, and CNIB cardholders to travel without a companion. Find your bus stop and refer to Alternative service for HSR customers with wheelchairs, scooters or CNIB card-holders under this FAQ for more information
HSR is restricting customer loads to:
- 10 people on a 40 ft bus
- 15 people on a 60 ft articulated bus.
Signs will be posted to identify which seats are not available for use.
Operators will be by-passing stops if the load on the bus is in excess of the above amounts, or if there are concerns with physical distancing.
There will be increased wait times. Plan to give yourself more time to get to your destination as you will experience longer wait times. Customers may need to wait for a 2nd, possibly 3rd or 4th bus
Between the hours of 1 and 5pm the following routes will experience the greatest impacts:
- 2 Barton
- 1 King
- 5 Delaware
- 10 B line
Operators will not be policing these seat restrictions if someone sits in a marked seat. It is the responsibility of everyone to adhere to physical distancing and respect the signs posted.
Why did you change to a Saturday Service Level?
All decisions are being made in consultation with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) executive and City of Hamilton’s Public Health and Emergency Operations Centre teams to ensure there is a reliable and sustainable plan for service to continue over the coming weeks.
HSR is seeing a decrease in boardings and expect this trend to continue. The decision to move to a Saturday service level was made for us to redeploy operators and add articulated buses to other routes where there is a greater demand. We are continuing to adjust schedules and are adding supplemental service on selected routes, to help mitigate crowding and improve physical distancing.
Lost and Found
HSR Lost Items is closed to the public. If you have lost something on the HSR, we’ll keep it safely stored as per our usual processes. If you have lost something critical, please call us between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm at 905-546-2424 ext. 1882. If your item is deemed essential, we will do our best to make arrangements for pick up.
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