Reduced transit hours raising concerns about late-night safety

Reduced hours of late-night bus service are raising safety concerns with some users at the downtown Red Deer Transit terminal.

Reduced hours of late-night bus service are raising safety concerns with some users at the downtown Red Deer Transit terminal.

City council decided during 2012 budget talks early this year to reduce transit service from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes after 10:45 p.m.

Cherise Piercy, an active bus user, gathered 471 signatures to seek more bus service after 10:45 p.m. She told council she wasn’t sure how many of those who signed the petition actually use the buses later at night.

She highlighted one concern — that people, especially women, don’t feel safe sticking around at Sorensen Station while they wait for the bus.

“There’s not enough commissionaires, peace officer and police officers in the area,” Piercy said. “It’s not safe. I’ve been there.”

Sometimes people have to change their work schedules or their jobs because they can’t work late, she added.

Piercy also said she will present more signatures to see hours extended on Sundays.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said she’s concerned that women don’t feel safe late at night at the downtown terminal.

“We talk about the quality of life and meeting the needs for the community,” said Wyntjes. “I’ll be supporting the riders.”

The 2012 budget reduction amounted to $160,000 in savings annually.

Council was told that three random counts of the late-night service showed that the average number of riders was seven on each bus.

Coun. Paul Harris said this is the one area within the budget that he voted on incorrectly earlier this year. He would now vote in favour of keeping the hours.

Extended hours, weekend hours and frequency were listed as top priorities in a recent transit survey, said Harris.

Council voted 6-2 in favour of reaffirming transit reductions, but also agreed to review the issue during 2013 budget talks.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Councillors Chris Stephan, Cindy Jefferies, Lynne Mulder, Frank Wong and Tara Veer voted in favour of keeping the transit service hour reductions.

Harris and Wyntjes voted against. Coun. Buck Buchanan was absent.

“I don’t think that people realize the cost of off-peak hours … in Calgary, they operate more service during peak hours, which I think we should do,” said Stephan.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

City council decided during 2012 budget talks early this year to reduce transit service from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes after 10:45 p.m.

Cherise Piercy, an active bus user, gathered 471 signatures to seek more bus service after 10:45 p.m. She told council she wasn’t sure how many of those who signed the petition actually use the buses later at night.

She highlighted one concern — that people, especially women, don’t feel safe sticking around at Sorensen Station while they wait for the bus.

“There’s not enough commissionaires, peace officer and police officers in the area,” Piercy said. “It’s not safe. I’ve been there.”

Sometimes people have to change their work schedules or their jobs because they can’t work late, she added.

Piercy also said she will present more signatures to see hours extended on Sundays.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said she’s concerned that women don’t feel safe late at night at the downtown terminal.

“We talk about the quality of life and meeting the needs for the community,” said Wyntjes. “I’ll be supporting the riders.”

The 2012 budget reduction amounted to $160,000 in savings annually.

Council was told that three random counts of the late-night service showed that the average number of riders was seven on each bus.

Coun. Paul Harris said this is the one area within the budget that he voted on incorrectly earlier this year. He would now vote in favour of keeping the hours.

Extended hours, weekend hours and frequency were listed as top priorities in a recent transit survey, said Harris.

Council voted 6-2 in favour of reaffirming transit reductions, but also agreed to review the issue during 2013 budget talks.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Councillors Chris Stephan, Cindy Jefferies, Lynne Mulder, Frank Wong and Tara Veer voted in favour of keeping the transit service hour reductions.

Harris and Wyntjes voted against. Coun. Buck Buchanan was absent.

“I don’t think that people realize the cost of off-peak hours … in Calgary, they operate more service during peak hours, which I think we should do,” said Stephan.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com