NORTH BAY -- The City of North Bay will be re-introducing transit fare collection and will resume regular parking enforcement as of June 15, as the province continues with to gradually re-open Ontario’s economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parking enforcement was eased and transit fare collection was temporarily suspended in the early days of the COVID-19 response as non-essential businesses were shut down and the rear-door boarding of buses was introduced to help protect drivers and the public.

North Bay Transit has since implemented a number of health and safety protocols that will allow for the safe re-introduction of fare collection and front-door boarding, including the installation of Plexiglas barriers separating drivers from passengers.

"We have remained committed to providing city-wide transit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Fares were suspended back in March to limit interactions and help protect our employees and riders," said Coun. Chris Mayne, the chairman of infrastructure and operations. "These new measures will allow us to return to a more usual way of operating while continuing to protect against the spread of COVID-19."

North Bay Transit will continue to limit the number of passengers on each bus to 15 to ensure sufficient space for physical distancing. Frequent cleaning and sanitization of buses will continue.

The re-introduction of fares will apply to both transit and para-transit buses, with passes to be made available for purchase at the terminal on Oak Street.

The city is also looking at re-instating parking enforcement. In the downtown area, one hour of free, on-street parking and two hours of free parking will still be available in Lot Two on Oak Street or the four parking garages.