Calgary Transit deals with COVID-19 rise in social disorder in CTrain

Question in council prompted by weekend video showing drug use aboard a CTrain car, Coun. Davison said

A transit peace officer walks along the platform at 7 Street SW station in Calgary on Thursday, April 9, 2020. LIVEWIRE CALGARY FILE PHOTO

Calgary Transit has doubled the dispatch of peace officers and tripled patrols in certain areas in response to a rise in social disorder calls.

In Monday’s combined meeting of council, Coun. Jeff Davison raised the question of the increase in social disorder, specifically along the 7 Avenue free fare zone.

“This weekend we also saw the emergence of an online video depicting illicit drug use on a train,” Coun. Davison said.

Davison asked for a recap from city administration on how they were ensuring the safety of riders at a time when ridership is still down.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw ridership drop to a low of 10 per cent of normal in some cases. While ridership has increased substantially from then, it remains lower than normal, opening it up to an increase in social disorder, said Calgary’s Transportation general manager, Doug Morgan.

“With a drop in ridership we’ve seen some unacceptable behaviour occur on the system,” Morgan said.

“This is part of a larger social issue that is occurring as part of the pandemic.”

Ramped up patrols, dispatches

Morgan said the issue is moving around, and as areas like the city’s +15s and the library have closed, the disorder issues migrate to Calgary Transit.

As a result of calls, Morgan said they’ve doubled the number of dispatches of Calgary Transit Peace Officers through the month of January.

“We have tripled our station patrols in response to citizen concerns,” he said.

Morgan also said they’re working with other agencies to develop a rapid response plan. They want to connect the vulnerable Calgarians with resources through the Bear Clan Patrol, or the Alpha House DOAP team.

Morgan said riders can also use the help phone or the text line for help. More than 1,300 covert text conversations in January. There were also 4,000 calls that came from the public on social disorder and safety concerns, he said.

Do you have something to add to this story? Contact darren.krause@livewirecalgary.com

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4 Comments

  1. It doesn’t help that when people have knives pulled on them and robbed peace officers just say oh its normal for that person to do so just let it go. Also when staff are on ctrain and people around are dangerous and so forth they do nothing. The peace officers and police in calgary are horrible racist people. Its sad and this is the people that are suppose to set a good example for the community

    • The Staff or employees of Tranist can’t do any more then the customer can. They are told not to interact with the people causing the ‘social disorder’ only to report it to Bus/Rail Controler or push the help button like the customer can. The City can and have issued discipline to employees that have gotten involved with the ‘social disorder’
      As they are told that dealing with these types of riders are a job for Tranist Peace Officers not the Tranist Employees.

    • So they have knives pulled on them and the people you want to deal with them you label as racist?

      What’s your plan then? Your solution?

  2. Everyone sees different things happening. But they are suppose to protect people not tell them its normal for the person to rob people

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