Staff Report #1 – Operator Safety Barriers

Staff Report #1

April 17, 2020

To All Commissioners

Re: Operator Safety Barriers


That the Commission:

  1. APPROVE the contract award for the supply of 170 Operator barriers to New Flyer Industries at a cost of $1,108,910 exclusive of applicable taxes, noting they are the official supplier of the barriers that were tested and recommended by the Occupational Health and Safety Committee during the LTC pilot program;
  1. DIRECT administration to obtain the required specification and quotation for the remaining buses in the fleet that were not equipped during the pilot program; and
  • DIRECT administration to continue efforts in identifying an alternative source of funding for this project


In July 2018, the Operator Safety Barrier (OSB) pilot project was launched, and three LTC buses were equipped with the OSBs for a one-year trial period. The goal was to ensure as many Operators as possible had the opportunity to drive one of these buses in service so that he/she could provide detailed feedback on their experiences.

Survey respondents were asked for their overall impression of the barrier, the results from both the Operator group and the Maintenance group are set out below.

Ranking Operators Maintenance
Very Positive 49% 20%
Positive 22% 40%
Neutral 7% 78% 30% 90%
Negative 12% 10%
Very Negative 9% 0%

As indicated, 78% of survey respondents in the Operator group and 90% of respondents in the maintenance group indicated their overall impression of the barrier was positive/neutral. Of those that indicated a negative impression, the predominant comments provided indicated the respondent feeling confined and/or banging the right elbow on the shield. Near the end of the pilot program, an adjustment was made to one of the shields to provide for an extra two inches of right side clearance. This shield was tested by a number of operators who had initially indicated a negative impression and all found the revision to be helpful in addressing their concerns. The revised prototype is the model that will be ordered and installed.

The Operator group was also asked to rate their experience while operating the bus equipped with the barrier. Responses from a number of the key questions are set out below.

Experience Agree / Neutral Disagree
Barrier provided a greater sense of safety 81% 19%
Barrier allowed for easy entry/exit to/from driver area 76% 24%
Barrier resulted in minimal change to driver comfort 80% 20%
Sight lines were unobstructed by the barrier 71% 24%
Barrier allowed for interaction with customer 64% 27%

Of note, the responses for the experience relating to the barrier allowing for interaction with the customer was based on the sliding glass portion of the barrier being in the fully closed position. The barrier is equipped with three positions for the glass, which can be moved based on the operators preference.

No formal surveys were undertaken with LTC customers regarding the barrier, however data was collected through customer interaction via email, social media and telephone. Overall, the comments received from customers is considered neutral, with most positive comments relating to the need to provide extra protection for the Operator, and most negative comments relating to the barrier limiting the customer’s ability to interact with the Operator.

The 2020 Capital Budget program, as approved by the Commission and subsequently Municipal Council included a placeholder amount of $1.1 million with no source of funding identified. The budget amount was based on a previously provided estimate. Administration has undertaken an assessment in an effort to identify potential sources of funding for this initiative. The table below sets out the available sources of funding that are being recommended at this time, noting, additional funding may become available from either the Provincial or Federal governments that will affect the current sources of funding identified to cover the current projected operating deficit.

Capital Project Revision Required Revised Budget
170 Operator Barriers $1,108,900
Estimated Remaining Barriers 360,000
Fare Processing Equipment $(132,900)
Stop Upgrade Program (200,000)
2021 Bus Replacement Program (2 buses) (1,136,000)

The proposed reduction to the fare processing equipment program can be accommodated given this is a placeholder amount at this time. The reduction in the stop upgrade program is directly tied to the deferral of the 2020 Conventional Transit Service Plan and the ability to defer the removal/move of shelters and bus stops relating to the Plan. The reduction of two buses from the 2021 bus replacement program will only slightly impact the average fleet age, and is not anticipated to create any significant issues going forward.

As set out in the report recommendation, the Operator barriers would be ordered directly from New Flyer Industries given they are now the official supplier of this product. The quotation provided by New Flyer was for 170 buses, which is the total number of the Excelsior series of bus that these barriers were designed for currently in the fleet (inclusive of the 16 replacement buses that will be delivered this year). The estimated delivery date for the 170 barriers is 8-10 weeks from date of order, noting the barriers would be delivered to LTC and need to be installed upon receipt. Part two of the recommendation calls for the development of a specification and quotation for the same barrier for the remaining D40 series of buses in the fleet, noting the bus replacement plan calls for the remaining D40 buses to be retired over the next 4-5 years. The intent of this program is to have all buses equipped with barriers as soon as possible.

Recommended by:

Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities

Mike Gregor, Director of Finance

Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations

Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager