Public disorder up on Metro Vancouver’s transit system as ridership grows

published on June 5, 2024 by Nathan Griffiths in Vancouver Sun

As transit ridership approached pre-pandemic levels in 2023, calls to Transit Police for drug, alcohol or mental health cases jumped, according to figures from the Metro Vancouver Transit Police.

There were more than 600 such calls in 2023, or about 2.6 calls for every million trips taken on transit, according to information obtained through a freedom of information request.

That’s up from the previous year when there were about 350 calls or 1.8 calls for every million trips.

Although the increase occurred in the first year of B.C.’s drug decriminalization experiment, experts and authorities suggested the reasons for the apparent increase in public disorder are far more complex, citing an increase in public transit use following the pandemic, growing homelessness and increasingly toxic street drugs.

In the first two years of the pandemic transit use fell dramatically but there were still roughly 350 calls for service related to drugs, alcohol or mental health per year during those years — or almost three calls for every million trips…

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