Metro Vancouver Transit Police and police partners ramping up patrols of transit system

April 18, 2023
Provincial, local and transit leaders reiterate that everyone should feel safe while using transit and the increased patrols aim to ensure that perception holds true following several high-profile incidents in 2023.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police, law enforcement in neighboring jurisdictions and volunteer safety organizations have increased patrols throughout the bus and rail network following a spate of high-profile incidents on transit property, including two separate stabbings the week of April 9, one of which resulted in the death of a 17-year-old from Surrey.

"No one should have to fear for their physical safety or life when riding our transit system,” said Mayor of Surrey Brenda Locke. “There is no place for the continuing violent acts that are taking place on our regional transit system.”

The sentiment that everyone deserves to feel safe on transit was echoed by British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming and TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn, who were speaking at a press conference highlighting the R6 Scott Road RapidBus.

“I’m angry. We’re really angry. We’re very frustrated,” said Quinn, who also mentioned his concern as a parent whose kids ride transit every day. “We will not stand for these types of incidents on our systems. We will not allow criminals or those who want to commit crimes to come onto our system…We are doing everything we can in coordinating with our local, our municipal and our provincial authorities to make our system safe.”

CUPE 7000 President Tony Rebelo, whose union represents 1,000 SkyTrain employees, says the increase in violence is “reaching crisis levels” and explained union members lack the training and tools to “deal with violent offenders.”

Metro Vancouver Transit Police has been highlighting its work and additional patrols over the past week. It has coordinated efforts with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) University and Surrey Detachments, paired Neighborhood Police Officers with volunteers from the Waterfront Community Policing Center, which is comprised of transit users who work to improve the safety of the transit system, and increased outreach efforts to educate transit riders on how to contact authorities via phone, text or emergency communications devices throughout the system.

RCMP Surrey explains overall violent crime in the municipality is down 14 percent but notes monitoring trends allows the detachment to deploy resources strategically. Its dedicated Mobile Street Enforcement Team patrols busy centers, including malls and around major transit hubs by bike and foot.

In December 2022, Metro Vancouver Transit Police announced plans to introduce a Community Safety Officer program later in 2023 that will provide the region with “a new category of frontline Transit Police employee” as a supplement to efforts of police officers.

The Community Safety Officers will be empowered to enforce conduct and safety regulations and will carry limited use of force options. They will assist with tasks such as community engagement, transit safety education, collection of evidence, perimeter security at police incidents, crowd control, fare enforcement and support at major events and emergencies, along with other responsibilities.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

Trans Link Logo 548767b39177f


Dec. 9, 2014