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Calgary Transit: Ambassador pilot program already making a difference

Calgary Transit’s 20 ambassadors are already making tangible improvements to the health and safety of Transit riders.

That, according to the organization, following questions about the efficacy of the program towards members of Calgary city council on Jan. 17.

The program, which was announced at the beginning of December, has Transit staff present at CTrain stations or riding the lines available to answer questions, direct users to their destinations, and alert the Calgary Transit Operations Centre to any issues that they come across.

“The ambassadors are already making a difference and are elevating our level of customer service by helping riders in getting to their destinations,” said Sharon Fleming, Director of Calgary Transit.

“We are seeing how the simple act of being visible and offering assistance has a positive impact on passengers.”

The program has assisted riders already, Calgary Transit said. In early January, an ambassador, alongside a train operator, were able to get medical attention to an individual experiencing a seizure.

“The train operator and ambassador worked together to safely escort the passenger off the train, contact our operations control centre to arrange further support, and wait with the passenger until help arrived,” they said.

The program was launched as part of the overall efforts to increase the number of patrols by Calgary Transit staff, and to provide enhanced surveillance of CTrain stations and cars.

Sgt. Ian Stewart, a peace officer with Calgary Transit, outlined some of the other efforts they’re making to increase safety for riders at a Kensington BIA crime and social disorder town hall that was held earlier this week.

Alongside the ambassadors, Calgary Transit is increasing staffing levels for other aspects of station security, including in the operations control centre, 31 enhanced-authority security guards, and the hiring of third-party security firm MacCon to provide corporate security staff at stations.

The organization is also currently training and graduating peace officers, which will result in a 25 per cent increase in patrols and officer presence along routes.

Transit previously implemented a program that paired up Calgary Transit peace officers with Calgary Police Service members in order to suppress crime and disorder on Transit lines.

“As an organization, we are changing our strategies of what we do and how we do it on a daily basis,” said Sgt. Stewart.

In the fall of 2022, Calgary Police Service and Calgary Transit officers issued 370 tickets, and arrested 46 people as part of their safety enforcement efforts.