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Transit Police Academy – Week 1

Transit Police on duty screengrab

Transit Police Academy runs until June 24

After my first evening in Transit Police Academy, I have to admit that I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I knew it!

Transit Police was created in 2004 to be the thread that ties all the different jurisdictions in the region together.

They are trained exactly as any other police department and have the power of arrest, have access and ability to share information with other police departments and RCMP and are accountable to many authorities both provincial and federal.

We got a really great example of how Transit Police works in the Lower Mainland.

An incident occurred in a Surrey SkyTrain station with the perpetrator then hopping on the train heading to New Westminster committing another crime on the system THEN getting on again and getting into some more trouble in Vancouver.

Before Transit Police, these incidents caused by a single perpetrator included not one, not two but THREE police departments all with varying degrees of information based on the individual situations in their jurisdiction.

Transit Police streamlines the process and they work closely with municipal police departments as their jurisdiction expands across the entire province!

One of the major concerns I hear from riders, (and hey, I’ve thought it too!) is: “Where ARE the Transit Police? I don’t see them except checking fares!”

The short answer is that they can’t be everywhere at once. Here’s the long answer:

Teams of two try to stay near the system to jump on and off the train if needed to be at emergencies quickly and spend lots of time on and near major bus loops. But they are constantly moving.

The breakdown of time is about 1/3 each for dealing with calls, administrative paperwork and patrolling the system.

A full Transit Police department is 110 officers. Right now, they are at about 103. And yes, they’re hiring if you’re interested!

There are the day and evening shifts with staffing 24/7. Officers are four days on and four days off. The split is about 10 units during the day and 12 (or more) in the peak afternoon and evening times.

However, I think it’s their service delivery model that is particularly interesting.

The new model in place now comes out of an independent report from Simon Fraser University that included surveys, workload analysis, time and motion and predictive analysis.

Transit Police implemented their suggestions to create a hub system.

There are 6 major hubs along the SkyTrain system where Transit Police officers report to and from. These are: Bridgeport, Waterfront, Broadway/Commercial, Metrotown, Lougheed and Surrey Central. There are smaller hubs at many other stations as well.

The hub stations were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Call density
  • Volume of rail passengers
  • Volume of bus traffic in loops
  • Volume of bus passengers
  • Customer perception of safety

This creates a type of geographical “beat” for officers on the system with zones they patrol allowing them to get to know the neighbourhoods and people.

This week we will be exploring intelligence led policing, communications with their Operations Communications Centre and the On Duty app.

Also, we’ll be looking at the 87-77-77 text line.

FYI! In one year, Transit Police received 31,000 texts with tips and concerns about situations on the system.

I’m genuinely learning a lot and I’m happy to pass that on to you, Buzzer readers. Look out for my new post next week!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Adrienne goes to Transit Police Academy

Police Academy

I heart Mahoney!

“All right, you scrawny beanpoles, becoming a cop is NOT something that happens overnight. It takes one solid weekend of training to get that badge” – Chief Wiggum

All kidding and Simpsons quotes aside, I am always impressed by the level of dedication and training police officers have and Transit Police is no exception!

They provide a vital service for our system and our region.

Believe me, they do far more than just write fare infraction tickets. This is a full-fledged police service!

Have you ever wanted to know more about the ins and outs of Transit Police? Me too!

So, every Wednesday evening (starting tonight) until the end of June, I’ll be attending a TransLink initiative for employees called Transit Police Academy.

I will be learning about how they police the system, tactical responses, investigation procedures and lots more.

My goal in participating is to better understand what they do, why, how and pass that knowledge onto you, the rider (and reader).

The agenda for the first week:

  • Service Delivery Model
  • Community Policing
  • Transit Watch Program (Surrey)
  • Chief’s Community Counsel
  • Police Board

I will be posting about my experiences at Transit Police Academy each week so stay tuned for all my updates!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Halloween safety tips from Transit Police

When taking part in Halloween festivities this weekend, Transit Police is reminding everyone to take a few precautions to ensure you enjoy the night safely.

Here are some tips:

  • Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume. Ask yourself, could this prop be easily mistaken for the real thing? If so, how might it put your safety at risk if the police are called? If in doubt, leave it at home.

 

  • Consumption of liquor in public is illegal. This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus, If you are carrying liquor on transit, ensure it remains closed until you arrive at your private destination.

 

  • Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit. Keep valuables out of sight from others. Avoid being engrossed in your electronic device.

 

  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home. Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night. The last Expo Line train to King George Station leaves Waterfront Station at 1:16 am, Mondays through Saturdays, and at 12:15 am on Sundays and holidays. The last Canada Line train to Richmond-Brighouse Station departs Waterfront Station at 1:15 am, seven days a week.

 

  • If travelling in a group, establish a meeting place in the event you are separated. 

 

  • Be visible. Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.

 

  • Use face paint or make‐up instead of a mask. If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and push it back off your face when you are walking in and around train stations, and in busy pedestrian areas.

Stay connected to Transit Police through the free OnDuty app. Report any suspicious events or safety concerns on public transit to Transit Police’s non-emergency line. Text 87‐77‐77 (standard carrier rates may apply) or call 604‐515‐8300. In emergencies, always call 911.

Author: Allen Tung

Stay Connected to Transit Police with the new OnDuty Mobile App

Metro Vancouver Transit Police have released OnDuty, a new mobile app that will connect you with all Transit Police’s channels in the palm of your hand.

If you see something, while riding transit, say something! Through the app’s built-in text messaging function, users will be able to discreetly report non-emergency issues to Transit Police dispatch. There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit.

The OnDuty app’s Crime Maps feature will allow you to view crime hotspots along the transit system. Transit Police will be updating crime maps section weekly, so you can have a better, up-to-date understanding of where and when crime occurs.

Stay connected to the Transit Police’s Twitter and Facebook pages and real-time alerts will keep you informed about public safety concerns, missing persons or major service disruptions. You will also be able to access TransLink’s Next Bus and Trip Planner features directly from the app!

The OnDuty app, for iOS and Android devices, is free and is now available in the App Store and Google Play.

 

*This app is for non-emergency reporting only. For emergencies, please call 911.

Author: Allen Tung

On the beat with Transit Police and Vancity Buzz

Transit Police on Vancity Buzz

Transit Police on Vancity Buzz

Local blog and place to learn a little bit about everything in Metro Vancouver, Vancity Buzz just posted a guest post by Constable Graham Walker of the Transit Police. It’s a firsthand look at the daily activities of Transit Police. Have a read and you’ll find out that there’s a lot more to being a Transit Police than handing out fare infraction tickets.

After you’ve read Graham’s piece, take a look at the On The System with Transit Police post with Transit Police on our blog!

On the system – following fare evasion with Transit Police

Crowds at Burrard Station are checked for proper payment of fares.

We’re continuing the conversation about fare evasion with this second installment of on the system.

This week is the beginning of an increased focus on fare evasion on SkyTrain and on buses, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

The observant SkyTrain rider might have seen the “We don’t have a freebie line” interior sign or heard SkyTrain platform announcements about increased fare enforcement. Riders might also notice more Transit Police, Transit Security and SkyTrain attendants asking to see proof of payment on the transit system.

Interior sign about increase fare enforcement. No freebies here.

We’re stepping up our focus on fare evasion in anticipation of new legislation coming into effect in early September 2012. This new legislation will allow TransLink to collect unpaid fare evasion tickets and resolve disputes. Tools TransLink will have to help collect those tickets include escalating fines over time, the possibility of outstanding fines being sent to a collection agency and ICBC having the right to refuse to issue or renew a driver’s license or vehicle registration.

As noted in the first installment of this series, which looked a Transit Security increasing fare checks on buses, over the course of one week in February, fare evasion was reduced from 11 per cent to just under eight per cent on one problem route. Like Transit Security, Transit Police are doing more fare checks this summer in order to deter fare evasion and make sure everyone is paying their fair share. Read more »

Good luck to the Transit Police in the World Police and Fire Games!

The 2009 World Police and Fire Games open today, and I just want to send a shout-out to our Transit Police competitors!

Several members of our police force are competing in events such as pistol, karate, archery, hockey, cycling, biathlon, soccer, rifle, 5K race, and the Grouse Grind. About 10,000 athletes representing 55 countries are competing in the Games—it’s a huge international event!

If you’re interested, the opening parade of athletes kicks off tonight, Friday July 31, at Creekside Park by Telus World of Science at 5 p.m. It’s easily accessed by transit: it’s located right between Main Street Station and Stadium Station!

Check out the official website for more info on the opening, as well as for details on the Games events. The Games close on Sunday August 9.

Transit police shave heads for charity

Transit police officers Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Transit police officers Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Our colleagues over at the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service sent along a note about two of their officers, who had their heads shaved for charity this weekend.

Cst. Keith Grace and Bernard Florido went down to an event called the Baldy Bash in Las Vegas, participating to raise money for PEP, an organization of professionals helping parents and families of very sick children.

Read more »

A 7 p.m. thank you for frontline workers, plus share your transit story and appreciation with us

Over the past week, every night at 7 p.m., a cheer has been ringing out across Metro Vancouver for healthcare workers and all frontline staff, and we’ve been telling you about it on our social media channels.

We want to give thanks to those on the front lines too — including our transit staff! That’s why for the next little while, you’ll hear a voice announcement onboard all Expo, Millennium and Canada Line trains at 7 p.m., thanking frontline staff and asking customers to cheer for them.

The announcement played for the first time on March 27 and you can watch below. Thanks to the customer that gave a “woo!” I think we can do better, so tonight, let’s hear you cheer even louder!

For us at TransLink and its family of companies, not only are we thankful for the healthcare workers and grocery clerks on the frontlines, we’re also thankful for transit’s frontline staff and all those who work behind the scenes to keep the region moving for essential workers and essential trips like grocery runs.

That’s your bus operators, SkyTrain Attendants, SeaBus Attendants, West Coast Express Attendants, Transit Security officers and Transit Police officers, staff at Customer Information and Compass Customer Service, as well as the operations and maintenance staff — to name a few — for ensuring a reliable transit system for those essential trips.

Are you a customer that’s using transit because you’re an essential worker or need it for essential trips? We want to tell your story about who you are and where you’re taking transit to. Email us at thebuzzer@translink.ca!

Or perhaps you’re just super thankful for transit staff and want to send us your appreciation for them. Snap a photo, write a Haiku, draw a picture, perform a song or whatever you can dream up to show your appreciation! We’ll make sure it share it with our transit staff.

Here’s a selection of what we’ve spotted on social media from you!

View this post on Instagram

Thank you to all the TransLink operaters, workers and maintenance staff. You are making sure us #essentialworkers get to where we need to be. You're essential at @translink and I appreciate all of you. Thank you to all the grocery store workers, pharmacy staff, government workers and child care workers for doing your part. Thank you to those that are staying home. And to those of you who are still out and about for leisure, STOP. GO HOME. #STAYHOME The government needs to do something about all the people still out and about. They are putting us all at risk and belittling the efforts the rest of us are making. #coronaviruscanada is here and if the government needs to step up fines for individuals, I would totally agree with that @justinpjtrudeau @ndpcanada @bcliberals @greenpartybc @conservativebc

A post shared by AVA JADE 2020 (@avajadevibes) on

A gold medal for transit during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

February 28, 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics’ final day of competition and the closing ceremonies. Of course, it’s also the anniversary of the “golden goal” scored by hockey player Sidney Crosby to win Canada the gold medal in men’s hockey.

Here’s an essay by Mohak Sood with The Buzzer blog on what the games meant for transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver. 

It’s winter. It’s February. It’s really not that cold, and it’s definitely not snowing much.  The coldest it got to this month was about -1 degrees Celsius.

It’s basically almost spring. Not ideal, really.

Anyways, you’ve got plans – you’re headed downtown.

You rip out a FareSaver from your booklet and head on down to see the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza, near the Vancouver Convention Centre.

But it’s guarded by a chain link fence, so it’s kind of hard to see.

Still, you hang around long enough to try and get a good look, and eventually you do. You see the glass that looks like ice. You see the cauldron, towering over you, all 30-plus feet of it. And then you see it. The fire. The flame. It’s lit.

And then you realize – it really isn’t that cold, like, at all. At the very least, it doesn’t feel anywhere close to cold enough. After all, it is the Winter Olympics!

You know just by simply thinking about Vancouver back in 2010, it feels like travelling through a time machine. Where does the time go!?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the Vancouver 2010 games, because, well, a lot has changed since then.

Did you know there was no Instagram during the 2010 Olympics? It didn’t launch until 2012. And FareSavers? Does anyone even remember those? It’s the Compass Card now.

The words “it’s lit” has taken on a whole new meaning. In 2010, it meant you were talking about turning on a light, lighting a candle or even the Olympic Cauldron. But now? Maybe ask a teenager.

Although times have changed since we hosted the Winter Olympics ten years ago, its impact continues to reverberate, especially when it comes to transit ridership.

During the 17-day long Olympics, there were 26 million boardings on all services. That’s an average of 1.58 million boardings per day, 40 per cent higher than the average weekday back in 2010.

“There was so many articles and information afterwards that the transportation during the 2010 Olympics was one of the best that [the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games] has ever seen,” says Ray Hamilton, Coast Mountain Bus Company’s manager of service analysis.

And we made sure we were ready for all the travel – before the games kicked off. TransLink launched a large-scale expansion plan that saw not only the arrival of SkyTrain’s Canada Line, but also 180 new diesel-hybrid buses, 48 new SkyTrain cars and a 400-passenger SeaBus.

During the games, TransLink saw a record high in use of public transit and that helped redefine our regions commuting habits. Regional mass transit saw a whopping 50 per cent increase during and after the Games!

“The numbers of riders, it didn’t drop back down to pre-Olympic levels. I think there were lots of people who realized through the Olympic experience that transit was a pretty viable option for getting around the Lower Mainland,” says Constable Jason White with Transit Police.

TransLink continues to win the gold medal in transit ridership, surpassing more than 437 million boardings in 2018 to set an all-time high for Metro Vancouver.

Ridership continues to climb on the Canada Line, which connects people from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver. It hit an all-time high in 2018 for annual ridership, including 39.65 million boardings in October 2018 alone, surpassing the one-month ridership record of 39.2 million set back during the Olympics.

Recognizing our ridership growth between 2016-2018 and excellence in a range of areas, the American Public Transportation Association named TransLink the Transit System of the Year for 2019.

But perhaps most importantly, all the new additions to TransLink’s fleet were easier on the environment with reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was a truly moment in time that brought the city, the province, and the country together.

We saw freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau become the first Canadian to win gold at an Olympic games held in Canada. We also saw the Canadian women’s hockey team shut out the Americans for gold and of course, hockey player Sidney Crosby’s “golden goal” in men’s hockey to end the magical tournament.

Everyone felt more connected during that time and because of the Olympics, everyone truly was.

Transit in Metro Vancouver has continue to transform 10 years later, so let’s take a look at selection of what we’ve accomplished since 2010:

Metro Vancouver transit strike: cycling the city

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Cycling

We’ve got some good news and some not-so-good news…

The not-so-good news: on Wednesday, November 27; Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, escalating job action will result in the suspension of SeaBus and most bus service in Metro Vancouver

The good news: the forecast is calling for sunny skies for the latter part of the week, which means that despite the cooler temps cycling is a brisk, yet possible option for getting around the city during the transit strike.

Here are some important tips, tricks and reminders to ensure help your cycling commute:

Read more »

Metro Vancouver transit strike: what’s running on November 27, 28 and 29

We’re beyond pleased to share that Coast Mountain Bus Company, and Unifor Locals 111 and 2200 have reached a tentative agreement! We’re working towards providing regular schedules for all transit modes.

Bus Alert

On Wednesday, November 27; Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29, escalating job action will result in the suspension of SeaBus and most bus service in Metro Vancouver. 

SkyTrain, West Coast Express and HandyDART will operate their regular schedules on these days. Also running on these days are a very limited number of bus routes operated by West Vancouver Blue Bus and other contractors.

Each day, half-a-million people take transit within our region, and we recognize that this job action will create challenging and uncertain commutes for many.

The following summary breaks down what transit service IS running on November 27, 28 and 29. Read more »

Behind-the-scenes with Transit Security

Who are the sharp looking officers in the blue uniform walking around your neighbourhood bus loop?

These are Coast Mountain Bus Company’s one and only Transit Security officers, and they’re taking the spotlight on The Buzzer today!

Transit Security help protect our customers, employees and keep TransLink property safe. The officers patrol by foot, bicycle, bus and car throughout Metro Vancouver’s transit system. They also have a huge responsibility to act as a major support role for other departments within our transit network. Contrary to what you may expect, Transit Security officers are not the same as Transit Police.

While on the road, Transit Security respond to calls for assistance throughout the transit network. This can range from assaults on or around the transit system, looking for missing people, enforcing the Transit Tariff and crowd control during events. While common duties include random fare checks on buses, they also collect fare related data to present to other departments of TransLink regarding our services.

Looking for evidence of wire theft is a recent example of what Transit Security does during their patrols. Their work provides Transit Police the information needed to inform the public on what to do if they spot swinging wires with the video you see below.

Women in the workforce

Being one of the few female Transit Security officers, Rumali’s favourite part of the job is working with the people in the community, whether it be with an assigned partner or helping customers with their commute.

Rumali notes that while she works in a male-dominated environment, she believes that women have an advantage working in the security workforce because she can de-escalate volatile and tense situations, as disruptive individuals tend to be less confrontational with women compared to their male counterparts. This is why communication is the most essential skill for this job.

TransLink is dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities in which we live, and that includes the work environment at CMBC’s Transit Security! We’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace and encourage you to consider a career with us.

Fun facts:

Sometimes a Transit Security officer may carry a limited (keyword) supply of the super-cool Transit Security car stickers during their patrol. If you politely ask for it when an officer is patrolling at a bus loop, they may grant you one!

What should you do if you feel unsafe on transit?

You can text this number with the situation: 87-77-77, call 604-515-8300 or find more information on the stickers throughout the bus that are placed on the windows and interiors.

Thinking of a career change?

Looking for a job that isn’t a 9 to 5 and grants you the freedom to work outside the office? If you want to contribute to the safety of your community, then being a Transit Security officer might just be for you! TransLink is dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities in which we live, and that includes the work environment at with Transit Security! We’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace and encourage you to consider a career with us. Check our TransLink Careers Page (under Coast Mountain Bus Company) for more info.

Get to celebrations and home safely with Canada Day 2019 holiday transit service!

Making my way downtown, walking fast… because I want to see the firework show!  🎉

We know that Canada Day celebrations are a big thing, cause we are excited for them too! That’s why on Monday July 1st, the SkyTrain, SeaBus and buses will be running on the holiday schedule, but with additional service to help you get to the celebrations and getting you home safely. 🤗

Because of this spectacular event, that also means that there will be changes to our regular bus routes and access to SkyTrain stations downtown. Don’t worry, it’s just for Canada Day! Read more »

That’s a wrap on I Love Transit Camp 2018!

Remember I Love Transit 2018? We still do. The end of 2018 was a busy one, so we never got to tell you about I Love Transit Camp 2018! Last year was special because we had two winning classes – that’s right!

Read more »