OC Transpo stepping up safety measures

OC Transpo is stepping up its safety plan after a review by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) suggested there is more to be done.

Overall, the organization gave OC Transpo good marks for its commitment to safety by offering de-escalation training to drivers, and safe and night stop programs which allow riders to request an unofficial stop closer to their destination.

APTA also recommended an online reporting system to publish assaults or other incidents online (while omitting names or other identifying information) in a bid to be more transparent.

Transit manager John Manconi said on Wednesday that will be put in place, but not just yet.

"We're working with the women's group right now because our assurances to them was that if we're going to report, we need to be able to do something with that data. The easy part is getting a web site up and running. The critical part is what to we do with that data and how do we work with our police partners."

OC Transpo is also on the hunt for a new chief safety officer, which is another one of the suggestions.

Manconi explained finding the right candidate will take months, in part because the successful candidates needs very specific skills because OC Transpo is a complex agency.

"We're one of two transit organizations that are federally regulated, so health and safety and so forth. We also have a multi-mode operation, we have bus, we have light rail, we have diesel trains. And they're also going to need to know the regulatory framework that we operate under."

The review also suggested OC Transpo top up the special constable unit, which currently has 41 employees.

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