robin kuniski/for metro calgary
"What I’m hearing is there is a culture change in our transit system. People are concerned about it — especially women."
The transit security debate was on track yesterday in city council, and a variety of opinions emerged — along with a variety of approaches to tackle the rising concern with safety on transit lines.
Ald. Ray Jones brought up his concern with degrading stations, while Ald. Andre Chabot, as reported yesterday in Metro, wants to see something done regarding the increasing fear of using the LRT Park ‘n Ride lots.
Transit also has their eyes on conducting a pilot project using video surveillance and they will be undertaking a full safety audit on the entire transit system over the next several months, according to Ron Collins of Calgary Transit.
That’s the approach heralded by Ald. Gord Lowe, who would like to see council take a look at safety and security on the entire transit system rather than using a ‘hit and miss’ approach.
“We seem to be approaching the whole issue of citizen satisfaction… around our transit system as a whole, and yet it seems to me what we really need, rather than bits and pieces, is a review of our transit system from a safety and security aspect,” Lowe said in council.
John Hubbell, manager of transportation, said the city has customer surveys dating back to the 80s, when safety and security was never an issue, to December 2007 results which indicate a shift in concern about security for transit users.
“Although (the customer satisfaction survey in December) they are excellent results, you can see some shift slightly in the sense that people are now beginning to become a little more concerned,” said Hubbell.
That’s a concern echoed by Ald. Druh Farrell.
“What I’m hearing is there is a culture change in our transit system. People are concerned about it — especially women,” said Farrell.
“So, I think something needs to be done and it’s really not as simple as putting in a few cameras — please don’t think that — and it really is about changing the culture.”
Council agreed to an amendment to bring back information requested by Ald. Chabot by October. However the entire issue was tabled to a meeting next Monday that will deal with a variety of transit questions.