– Calgary Transit security understaffed, city safety audit finds

CBC News

Calgary

An audit of Calgary’s transit system, commissioned by the city after the killing of a woman near a C-Train station last year, concludes it’s very safe, but recommends tripling the number of transit security officers.

The 130-page report, which was written by a consulting company, canvassed passengers, looked at crime statistics and examined spending on transit safety. It was verbally presented to a city subcommittee on Thursday.

Ninety-three per cent of respondents said they felt safe using Calgary Transit during the day, but that confidence plummeted to 38 per cent among users at night, according to the study.

It found transit security is extremely understaffed compared to North American averages and recommended tripling the number of transit officers in Calgary.

Calgary has one transit officer for every 4,400 riders, compared to one for every 1,800 riders in Vancouver.

The report also recommended:

  • Eliminating the downtown free-fare zone.
  • Tightening fare control, perhaps by installing turnstyles.
  • Installing more closed-circuit cameras.
  • Improving the lighting in at least 10 of the 36 stations.

“Very good ideas and some sound thinking that I think we should look [at], particularly now that we have North America’s busiest transit system and it’s going to get bigger and better,” said Ald. Gord Lowe, chair of the transit public safety audit subcommittee.

City council approved the audit about a week after Arcelie Laogan, 41, was found slain in January 2008 near the Franklin LRT station. She had left work and was heading home. A 22-year-old man is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

The written report will be released when the committee formally presents it to city council next month.

The Aldermen’s next step will be to look at which suggestions to implement and how they will be funded.

More than 95 million trips were taken on Calgary Transit in 2008.

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