Both B.C. Transit and Victoria Police Department are increasing their presence and utilizing social media to keep Canada Day, and the 50,000 people expected to be celebrating, under control.
Extra buses will be deployed and running on the Saturday schedule with late-night service, though the stops at Douglas at Belleville and Blanshard at Superior will close at 10 p.m. Some stops will also change in order to avoid the busiest areas.
Though other communities in B.C. will have free or reduced fares, full fares will be in effect in Victoria.
VicPD will be bolstering its representation downtown to deal with the extra people, many of whom will presumably be drinking. The number of road blocks in Victoria will also be increased.
“Canada Day is the busiest night of the year,” VicPD spokesperson Mike Russell said. “We’ve seen the rowdiness taper off though, and it’s been a really family-friendly event in the past few years.”
B.C. Transit spokesperson Meribeth Burton says that security has also been an issue on buses, though it has improved over the last few years.
The biggest issues for B.C. Transit are damage done to windows and people drinking while on the bus. “Sick buses,” which need to be emptied and replaced with another bus, have also become less frequent, with three incidences last year compared to nine in 2012.
In order to combat rowdiness, both Transit and police will be making use of social media. The hashtag #VicPDHelps will be monitored from 3 to 11 p.m., while Transit wants to encourage riders to report disruptive behaviour using their own hashtag.
“We’d love to have all eyes and ears out for us,” Burton said.