Bus Safety / by Greg Gallinger

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasis, quoted in The Uniter:

“If we want our transit system to grow and encourage more environmentally friendly transportation we need a transit system people feel safe riding,”

I disagree with many of the points made in this article. I am not in favour of a transit police. Although union leaders are claiming a rise in violence "not just related to fares,” significant data proving this has yet to be disclosed.

As a regular transit user I often see minor conflicts arise while riding the bus. I've seen people verbally assault the driver or other riders, but these instances are few and far between and rarely result in physical violence. That's not to say that doesn't ever happen, but I doubt the risk of violence is enough to necessitate turning Winnipeg's transit system into an Orwellian themed dark ride.

Rather than calling on the Cadets, Winnipeg Transit should be looking at improving its service in order to quell potential conflicts.

The report detailed efforts on technological modifications to buses, including cameras, fare counters and safety shields

City buses already utilize surveillance cameras, and implementing safety shields will only protect the driver. Fare counters certainly won't do anything to help the problem, as has been seen with turnstiles, these types of fare collection/enforcement methods only lead to further frustration and the potential for confrontation.

Perhaps improving service and ensuring the safety of riders would have a positive impact and deter violence. Adding more frequent buses to higher traffic routes; improving bus shelters (more whether proofing, better lighting), little improvements that go a long way in making the service more pleasant.