Calgary Transit passengers are loaded onto a CTrain heading south. LIVEWIRE CALGARY FILE PHOTO
Calgary Transit began a system-wide response to a surge in social disorder, beginning last Thursday with the doubling of peace officials patrolling the LRT system.
The plan comes after Coun first raised concerns about social disorder. Jeff Davison at the City Council meeting on February 8th. At the strategic council meeting on Monday (March 15), Davison raised the issue again at the time in question.
He asked Calgary Transit for an update as he had received several more worrying calls over the past month after discussing the issue.
Doug Morgan, GM of Calgary Transportation, said a three-phase response to social disruption began last Thursday. He admitted that the closure of public spaces and a sharp drop in driver numbers had contributed to the concern.
At the height of the pandemic, the number of drivers on CTrain lines had dropped to just 10 percent of normal.
Morgan said last Thursday they had doubled the number of peace officials patrolling the line.
“This intense effort will take five to ten days to allow for an immediate response,” said Morgan. This also includes a communications campaign to remind drivers of the safety and reporting systems available to Calgary Transit users.
GM Morgan also said that starting March 22, they would work with Calgary Community Standards, Corporate Security and the Calgary Police Department to “expand the team of Calgary Transit peace officers.”
In phase three, contractually agreed security guards are hired to increase visibility and incidents are reported. Morgan said it would allow peace officials to focus on other areas of need.
Community Services GM Katie Black also said they continue to work with social agencies to coordinate responses between the organizations.
“We know, of course, that social disruption doesn’t start and end on the edge of the Calgary Transit property,” she said.
Security lightning on Calgary Transit
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was looking forward to seeing the results of the “safety flash” on Calgary Transit.
“This is a concern that we have increasingly heard that while major incidents in the transit system like attacks have decreased significantly, these types of small social disruptions have increased quite a bit,” he said.
“Which are even more visible because there are fewer people on the train and we want to make sure that everyone feels safe.”
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal also brought up driver safety on both buses and CTrains.
He asked for additional training or other support for the workers.
GM Morgan referred to the organization’s “Code Blue” program. It is a process for documenting and investigating negative interactions with customers.
“We are investigating every single one of these and any lessons we can learn from these incidents that we will use as a refresher program in our training program,” said Morgan.
Morgan added that they also have a team that can respond to problem areas if necessary.
The additional security support is financed through the COFLEX program. This was passed by the council in November 2020 to allow for a quick allocation of cash for the remittance of operational support by the province and the federal government.
READ MORE: Calgary Transit officials have been sent on more calls, but social disorder is not increasing – GLOBAL CALGARY