Edmonton City Council receives progress update on Enhanced Transit Safety Plan

Oct. 26, 2023
Edmonton City Council approved and launched the Enhanced Transit Safety Plan in February 2022 to improve safety and accessibility for community members.

Edmonton City Council has received the latest bi-monthly verbal update regarding transit safety from Administration, Edmonton Police Service and Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.

Recent work shows progress is being made related to the Enhanced Transit Safety Plan, which is built around improvements to safety, perception of safety, well-being and integration: 

  • Drug-related incidents: 19 percent decrease (from 499 in Q2 to 404 in Q3)
  • Non-violent and violent incidents: 36 percent decrease in non-violent incidents (from 118 to 76) and 47 percent decrease in violent incidents (between August and September)
  • Community Outreach Transit Team: Increased referral requests to shelter support (11 percent of all interactions in 2023 to date, three percent in 2022) and housing support (12 percent of interactions in 2023, seven percent in 2022)
  • Ridership: In September 2023, ridership reached 5 million, representing a significant increase from August 2023 (3.9 million riders), as well as a 14 percent increase compared to September 2022. While there are many factors that affect ridership, non-criminal incidents decreased from 0.04 percent of total rides to 0.03 percent between August and September 2023.

The Enhanced Transit Safety Plan involves additional personnel within transit spaces. The latest counts for staffing: 

  • Transit Peace Officers (TPOs): Since early 2022, 35 new TPOs have been hired. There are currently 85 front line TPOs in the system, with eight more new recruits starting in November.
  • Community Outreach Transit Team: Seven TPOs are currently paired with outreach workers from Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society. COTT reached its full complement of staffing in June 2023 and is funded through the 2023-2026 budget cycle. 
  • Edmonton police service: In early 2023, the province announced funding for 50 police officers in transit spaces. To date, 21 officers have been assigned, with another 29 expected by late 2024. There are currently three Transit Community Safety teams, each with six constables and one sergeant deployed citywide to transit locations.

In addition, work continues on planned improvements through the Alberta Transit System Cleanup Grant: 

  • Enhanced cleaning: Cleaning of light-rail transit (LRT) and stations has been increased, with new in-service train cleaning at Clareview Station and a full-time contract employee dedicated to graffiti removal.
  • System-wide security upgrades: As of mid-October, 477 external doors have been upgraded at LRT and transit stations to secure these stations better after hours, with another 72 expected by spring 2024. More than 40 new security cameras are being installed at LRT stations across the city.
  • Work stations: Two workstations are being upgraded. The Transit Peace Officer hub in Churchill Square will begin operations in the next week. Detailed design has been completed to renovate a former cafe space in Central LRT Station to serve as an outreach work space for the Community Outreach Transit Team.

Edmonton City Council approved the Enhanced Transit Safety Plan in February 2022 to improve safety and connect Edmontonians to appropriate supports as needed. The next verbal update is expected to take place in December 2023.