Recent published comments about the increase in transit driver traffic violations would have the public believing our bus drivers are unkempt speeding huns barreling down the causeways of Calgary with blatant disregard for human life.
A call for concern over public safety by Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart is completely unfounded considering simple math puts approximately .12 tickets per driver per year on the entire transit crew.
And for the amount of total hours logged (2.31 million in 2008) by the entire transit fleet, which is more than 1,000 vehicles, we should be commending our bus captains who are battling poor infrastructure, out-of-reach schedule times, and the same snarling traffic we all face in Calgary.
Just because a professional driver clocks over the limit doesn’t mean public safety is in question, it means he got caught in the same revenue generation traffic units web of entrapment we all do.
From my own personal coil of transit experience which has me on numerous routes regularly, I can say emphatically that I have never felt unsafe on the bus or C-train due to speed.
Plus, I’d rather have a driver bust a red-light than stop short in rush hour and cause the jam-packed bus patrons to violently crash into one another like dominoes.
I am not advocating for operators to be granted a self-regulating traffic-god licence, and neither are Calgary Transit officials.
Ron Collins, the communications manager at Calgary Transit, says staff takes any kind of traffic summons seriously and all are handled and investigated, with multiple offenders facing disciplinary actions.
But, even a glance at the numbers doesn’t call for any kind of safety concern.
When I read the report, my first reaction was, “So what?”
I mean, a 40 ticket jump from 2007 isn’t a reason to rake transit operators over the coals.
The increase is more indicative of a naturally growing transit fleet, more drivers, and more hours on the road.
Dr. Richard Tay, of the Schulich School of Engineering, and chair of the Alberta Motor Association and Centre for Transportation Engineering and Planning of road safety, says he takes Calgary transit everyday and he has never felt unsafe on a trip.
The transit public should put its personal safety stock in the opinions of those who use buses regularly, not fearmongers who speak without mulling comprehensive data to win a few votes.
Council should focus on improving transit efficiency instead.