Calgary Transit will be increasing the number of peace officers on public transit as part of its new safety strategy.
The strategy outlines Calgary Transit’s new investments into public safety resources especially with ridership steadily increasing, according to a briefing sent to city councillors ahead of next Tuesday’s combined meeting of council.
According to Calgary Transit, ridership currently sits at approximately 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and the company expects the trend to continue through the fall.
These new safety investments include:
- increasing the number of peace officers by 25 per cent to 141 from 113
- hiring 31 transit security guards to actively patrol the system and provide customer service while working together with peace officers to increase their presence on the system.
- increasing back-of-house resources to help support the increase of infield safety resources.
To pay for the investments, the report says Calgary Transit will be moving $5.9 million in annual operating funds and $370,000 in one-time capital funds.
It will take approximately 25 weeks to hire, train and deploy the additional peace officers because they require “extensive training and legal knowledge.” It will also take more than 13 weeks to have the transit security guards hired and deployed on the system.
A full roster of peace officers and transit security guards will be deployed by the end of Q1 2023.
Customers will see an increase in officer presence, an improvement in incident response and an increase in outreach to connect vulnerable people to much-needed resources, Calgary Transit said.
Calgary Transit has come under fire for safety and social disorder issues on the city’s CTrain system over the past two years.
Many riders told Global News in the past they’ve noticed a rise in disorder on the city’s CTrain system. Others say they feel unsafe, especially after assault incidents at stations in downtown Calgary.
Earlier this year, Calgary Transit officials closed three train stations overnight to address “large gatherings” of people trying to seek shelter inside during a frigid cold snap.
Trees were also removed around northwest Calgary train stations to discourage camping and drug use earlier this month.