Volume 92, Issue 78

Tuesday, February 16, 1999


Election results not final yet

High rising plans modified

Safety changes put in motion

Mt. Allison back at work after more than three weeks off

Neighbours to consult on mastering plan

Singing for the scroll

Heating things up with ice


Caught on campus

Safety changes put in motion

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Bus drivers could soon be working overtime if plans to increase safety in London's downtown area come into effect.

One of the ideas under consideration to alleviate post-bar traffic in the core could see extended bus service from downtown to other areas of the city. A committee established Thursday by London police Chief Al Gramolini will examine this and other means of increasing downtown safety.

"I am in favour of anything that will move a large amount of people out of the area at the same time," Gramolini said. However, he added this might not be the best possible solution as it may simply move a problem to different parts of the city. Problems could also arise if intoxicated people are waiting at a bus stop for a large period of time, he said.

"I think this has merit but it has to be looked at very carefully," said David Tennant, co-chair for the coordinating committee for community safety. Tennant said a problem could emerge from having a lot of people jammed into a bus instead of a half-block area.

"Downtown is not a dangerous place but there is a perception it is. There are a whole host of ideas that need to be looked at," he added.

Larry Ducharme, general manager for the London Transit Commission, said if extended bus operation is one of the recommendations to come forward from the committee they will look into it, but added he did not feel this was the answer.

"We're open, but there's a lot of operational and fiscal issues that have to be addressed – and does it solve the problem?"

Ducharme said one problem he could see would be determining where the majority of patrons want to go.

Ian Armour, president of the University Students' Council, said while increased bus operation is an option, finding a way to better distribute cabs would be more cost effective. "Right now there's a hesitancy from cab drivers to go into the downtown area. Less cabs cause more aggression."

The USC tried using a shuttle service several years ago to accommodate students leaving the bars late but it turned out to be far too expensive, Armour added.

"I don't think there's enough volume to really warrant a bus service," he said.

Second-year history student Natalie Rossi said having buses run later will not solve the larger problem. "It's not a good idea because when people are drinking they do stupid things. As long as alcohol is still a factor the problem will still exist.

"People need to be more responsible when they're drinking," she added.

The committee has set a six month mandate to suggest and, if possible, implement their recommendations. It meets for the first time this Thursday.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999