Beginning today, Metro Vancouver bus passengers are being asked to enter through rear doors

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      Transit riders in the Lower Mainland of B.C. will notice a big change today.

      The regional transportation authority is encouraging passengers to board buses through the rear doors.

      It's intended to alleviate the risk of drivers contracting COVID-19 and promote social distancing.

      In addition, TransLink has suspended collecting fares on buses.

      Those in wheelchairs will still be able to board through the front doors.

      Ridership has plummeted on the transit system as the number of COVID-19 cases have increased in B.C.

      On March 17, bus boardings were 48 percent below the same day in 2019, whereas Expo and Millennium line boardings fell by 54 percent and Canada Line boardings were down by 59 percent.

      The drops were even lower for SeaBus (down 69 percent) and West Coast Express (down 70 percent).

      TransLink records a "boarding" every time "a passenger enters a fare paid zone using Compass fare media or other proof of payment. Transfers are counted as additional boardings."