Many Edmonton youth feel there is insufficient access to transit in the city and said security concerns have disincentivized them from taking transit, according to a report conducted by the city in 2022.
The City of Edmonton Youth Council worked to find out how youths in the city viewed transit and presented their findings at Wednesday’s urban planning committee meeting, providing recommendations to improve transit experience for youth riders.
The survey was conducted from March to June 2022 and received 193 responses which covered issues and solutions for routes and timing, payment and affordability and comfort and security.
Alain Humura, co-chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council transit initiative, said he and other youths in the city have faced issues with accessing transit systems in less populated areas of the city.
“I think there’s still some areas in terms of schools and specifically access for me as someone who lives in the southeast. I’m enthusiastic about the progress that’s going on but again, there still continues to be gaps,” Humura said.
Lower bus frequency in neighbourhoods during non-peak hours and non-walkable transit stops were a top concern for youths. Only eight per cent of respondents believed the Edmonton Transit System was handling the frequency well and just over 70 per cent of youth are disincentivized to be on transit because of long bus wait times as a result of lower frequency.
Need for safety on transit
Over three-quarters of respondents said improving safety and security on transit would incentivize them to use the system.
Tiffany Phan, co-chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council transit initiative, reiterated the need for safety on public transit systems.
“Increasing safety and security is extremely important to youth,” said Phan. “A really large concern is that 61.3 per cent of youth said that drug users and homeless people make them feel unsafe.”
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The majority of youth want to see an improvement when it comes to safety on transit, raising issues of uncleanliness, feeling unsafe at nighttime, a lack of security and encountering drug users or houseless people. Many of these concerns were localized to transit centres and LRT stations.
Sarah Feldman, director of business integration and workforce development at ETS, said to ensure youth and all Edmontonians feel safe on transit, ETS has implemented more measures including the addition of more transit peace officers and Edmonton Police Service members.
ETS has been improving secure doors, added more CCTV cameras and provided additional cleaning through a grant provided by the government of Alberta.
“We have more measures in place this year than we’ve ever had,” said Feldman.
“Youth and their guardians deserve to feel safe in transit spaces and we’re committed to keeping our youth riders safe.”
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