As part of Edmonton Transit’s move to bolster security, ETS will start a rotating deployment of security guards around the clock at select transit centres on Monday.
The new resources will be phased in over two weeks.
A third-party contractor will deploy security guards at 25 transit centres/stations that have had at least one major incident reported in the past five years.
At some LRT stations, security guards will be assigned to a specific facility for most of their shift before moving to another site when that LRT station closes at night.
“We’re committed to keeping our transit system safe and accelerating security initiatives to make it safer,” ETS Branch Manager Eddie Robar said.
“Having onsite security guards is one of the best ways to deter crime and disorder.”
In early October, city councillors approved a plan to increase security at transit stations and improve on-board safety for drivers.
This fall, there were several serious incidents at Edmonton transit stations, including a stabbing at the Mill Woods Transit Centre that sent a 65-year-old driver to hospital with multiple stab wounds. A 15-year-old was charged with several offences, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
On Sept. 18, a student waiting at the South Campus LRT Station during the morning rush was stabbed.
The additional guards will patrol the transit stations while wearing very visible jackets or vests. Their job is to observe and report any emergencies to 911. For disorder or nuisance issues, they’ll contact the ETS Control Centre which will “dispatch necessary support,” the city said.
They will interact with the public and work closely with transit peace officers and Edmonton police.
“Security guards will receive appropriate orientation, training and operational knowledge to effectively patrol their assigned location,” the city said in a Thursday news release.
The increased security is estimated to cost the city $6 million every year. The money must still be approved, but councillors voted Oct. 9 to take the next steps.
“We want to have a system that’s used by everyone and safety is a barrier for many,” Councillor Bev Esslinger said.
She added that pubic transit has been identified as a service that women and girls in Edmonton do not feel safe using.
“We must continue to ensure that we have equal access for everyone – that they feel safe – whether they apply for a job as an operator, whether they want to ride our systems. That’s our commitment: safety.”
— With files from Global’s Caley Ramsay