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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Armed Guards to Patrol Bus Line for Pilot Project

They're already on SkyTrain, and now armed guards will patrol a busy bus line through Vancouver as part of a TransLink pilot project. Two teams of fare inspectors and gun-carrying transit cops will ride the 99-B line from Commercial Drive to UBC, protecting drivers, breaking up fights, and making sure everyone pays.

TransLink is hoping to increase the load factor on the route by letting people board through all of the doors, but it needs to check fares to do that. Bus drivers will also benefit from a new $45-million radio system installed on all buses in April. It includes a GPS, so if a driver's in trouble, TransLink will know exactly where the bus is. There were 241 assaults on drivers last year, ranging from verbal assaults to all-out beatings.

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