Edmontonians transit safety concerns higher than national average: Ipsos


Edmontonians have been raising concerns about the quality of safety on the city’s transit systems and now a new survey results supports the complaints. According to an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News, one in four Canadians don’t feel safe while riding public transit systems across the country.Edmontonians are the most fearful, the poll shows.In Alberta, two-thirds of respondents feel that recent acts of violence are isolated incidents, “meaning that the majority of Albertans believe there is a trend in Canada of increased violence,” said Sean Simpson, senior VP of public affairs at Ipsos.On a nationwide spectrum, 45 per cent of people believe that recent acts of violence are isolated incidents, the poll found. Story continues below advertisement 1:51 More vandalism, crime at on Edmonton transit despite task force being formed Seventeen per cent of Albertans are avoiding using transit at all, which is three points higher than the national average. Other measures people across the province are taking to stay safe on transit include not travelling alone and not taking transit at night, Simpson said.“The Albertan strategy here seems to be (to) avoid rather than adapt,” he said.Resident Jorg Shlagheck said he tries to use transit as little as possible, even though it’s sometimes the most convenient way to get around.“Something needs to be put in place, whether it’s from the city’s resources, the province or the federal (government),” he said. “We want to get around and we want to feel safe while we get around, and right now it’s not what’s being delivered.” Trending Now Story continues below advertisement In December, the province launched a task force to address the social unrest in Edmonton.“The task force will implement recovery-oriented initiatives in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, we are allocating $63 million over the next two years, as part of an urban public safety and community intervention strategy,” the province said in a statement to Global News. 2:00 Edmonton council approves transit bylaw changes to improve safety “We will continue to grind everyday to ensure everyone in Edmonton struggling with addiction has the treatment they need and until every person commuting to and from work feels safe in their community.” 3:12 More Canadians concerned about safety on public transit: poll Steve Bradshaw, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, said the poll results are not a surprise, especially in Edmonton. Story continues below advertisement The city’s opioid epidemic has led to an increase in visible drug use on the transit system, he said, calling it a mental health and addictions mandate the province has failed.“We need (the province) to come to the table with real ideas” to provide the health care and housing that is needed to support the vulnerable populations, Brashaw said.The city has heard from citizens about safety on transit and at transit stations, and has been addressing the issue by adding more peace officers, hiring more social workers to support vulnerable populations and amending bylaws to help people connect with resources, said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.“This is part of a wider issue in our community around mental health issues, around addictions issues, the drug poisoning crisis that we are facing … the houseless population … people end up being at transit stations or at LRT stations, or on buses or on trains because they have no other safe place to go,” Sohi said.He added that the city, while continuing to deal with the housing and drug crisis, is also trying to improve the transit system and make it safer. 2:01 Halifax Transit workers speaking out on transit safety concerns &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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