“When is the City going to get serious about transit safety?”
I hear this question all the time.
Residents are frustrated. I am frustrated.
The truth is, Safety and security on transit has been a point of emphasis since the last election. Council has approved funding for more Transit Police Officers. Two years ago we had 52, now we have 93.
The Province has provided funding for 50 more police officers.
Community Outreach Transit Teams. HELP teams. Healthy Streets Operations Centre.
The list goes on. We have so many programs and teams and things we have spent money on it’s hard to keep them straight.
Two reports in the last few days of very violent incidents at the Coliseum LRT station. The EPS LRT and Transit Dashboard shows that the 2nd highest number of incidents take place at this station.
So - with all that money, with all those programs - why in the world is there not some sort of cop on this platform 24/7?
How do these violent acts keep happening? What is happening with all the taxpayer money that has been put towards transit safety?
Why does it seem that transit is not getting safer?
I represent communities that need better transit. More service, reliable service, better service. I want to provide the service that southwest Edmonton residents need.
But it is very hard to justify more tax dollars for improved service, especially during such financial times, when the perception is that transit is not safe.
It is particularly hard when the conversation at the Council or Committee table is about routes, frequency, service hours and how great the system is, while at the same time, the conversation outside the room is about how people are too afraid to ride the LRT - or let their kids ride it.
On December 12th, I will move a motion at Council to install fare gates at two stations as a pilot project. I want to know if turnstiles can be used to make the transit platforms safer. Will we see less violence? Will the number of incidents decrease? Will we see less fare evasion?
Will riders feel safer, and be more inclined to use the system?
We can talk about better, more reliable, frequent, warm, connected transit. But at the same time, we must talk about how we assure riders that the system will be safe. That taking an LRT train does not mean a random beating or a knife attack.
Do you like this page?