April 24, 2019 7:07 pm

Calgary Transit DOAP program a success, will be extended through 2019: city

Two dogs wander around CTrain tracks in Martindale.

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Calgary CTrain riders can expect to continue to see community outreach team members at train stations across the city, as the city said Wednesday is it expanding a program aimed at helping vulnerable people.

The pilot program, launched in 2018, has been touted a success by the city and as a result, the partnership between Calgary Transit and the Alpha House will continue, the city said.

The community outreach team includes a member of the Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) worker and a Calgary Transit peace officer.

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READ MORE: New transit initiative aims to reduce negative encounters on trains in downtown Calgary

The pair goes throughout CTrain stations and trains between the Sunalta and Victoria Park Stampede stations interacting with people dealing with homelessness or addiction, troubled youth and those with developmental disabilities. It’s hoped they’ll establish relationships with these vulnerable people and help them get the resources they need.

“The community outreach team provided assistance on 569 occasions between September 2018 and February 2019,” outreach manager at Calgary Alpha House Adam Melnyk said. “They have been very effective at creating relationships with Calgarians on Calgary Transit and getting them started on the road to building a better life.”

The city said Calgary Transit has seen a decline in the number of customer-reported incidents and concerns over safety, most notably a decrease in reports of social disorder.

“Through the work of this team, we’ve started to see some real changes in how outreach clients perceive someone in a uniform,” said Brian Whitelaw, coordinator of public safety and enforcement with Calgary Transit.

“Increasingly, vulnerable people are seeing our officers as people they can go to for help and understanding.”

Watch (November 2018): Calgary Transit launches safety review after woman pushed onto the tracks

The city said the partnership, which has been called DOAP Transit, will continue through 2019.

If CTrain riders see anyone they think is in need of help, they’re encouraged to use a Calgary Transit help phone or call 403-262-1111 and select option 1. In case of emergency, riders should call 911.

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