EDMONTON -- A $21 million investment into transit safety last year has been successful, now the city is looking to keep that safety trend going with a few new targets in mind.
The mood on buses, trains and at transit centres is improving according to city data.
Compared to this time last year, four per cent more passengers feel safe.
“Wherever I need to go, I can go and I’m always using the bus, I never had a problem,” said transit user Pushpa Sharma.
Roughly half of the $21 million was used to install shields for bus drivers. The rest is paying for security and de-escalation training.
“I’m glad that our administration is really stepping into this,” said Ward 10 Councillor Michael Walters.
City data shows mischief and crime throughout the system is down, but it’s not enough for councillors.
Councillor Michael Walters believes a lot of crime and disorder in our city is related to drug use, especially crystal meth.
“Our chief has said it multiple times since he’s been on the job, is that meth is a real problem here that’s not being addressed seriously.”
Some short term solutions were suggested at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Councillor Sarah Hamilton says better wifi between underground stations could help passengers feel safer.
Physical fare gates at platforms rather than the current “proof of payment” zones, was another suggestion.
The head of Edmonton Transit, Eddie Robar, says gates are not part of the plan.
“They’re very expensive to oversee and manage, they’re a huge capital cost to implement.”
“Fare gates, maybe in the short term for Smart Fare not a reasonable cost, but we probably have to move to that at some point,” said Hamilton.
For now, additional Peace Officers will help improve transit safety, 18 are being deployed by the end of the year, six more will start training in 2020.