Frequently Asked Questions
Not sure about how to report a crime or have a question about what we do? Our Frequently Asked Questions might help.
When Should I contact Transit Police?
Please call 604.515.8300 or text 87.77.77 to reach Transit Police for non-emergency issues such as:
- Something or someone is causing you to worry about your safety
- You are worried about the safety of someone else
- A crime has taken place on transit in the past (the suspect is gone)
- You see someone do something illegal (example: drinking alcohol on transit)
- You see someone or something suspicious (example: an unattended package)
In an emergency, always call 911. An emergency is when a serious crime is in progress, someone’s safety is being immediately threatened, or a crime is currently happening and the suspect is still at the scene.
For transit related questions or concerns, please contact TransLink Customer Information. Transit Police is unable to answer questions related to issues such as TransLink policy, transit service, lost & found, or janitorial concerns.
To share information with Transit Police anonymously, leave a tip with Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.
What do Transit Police officers do besides check tickets?
Transit Police takes fare evasion seriously, but fare enforcement is just a small part of what we do. Our attention is focused on our four operational priorities: reducing sexual offences, reducing frontline workplace assaults, helping vulnerable people in crisis and building system resiliency. Keeping transit safe for everyone is always a primary concern.
Are Transit Police officers allowed to enforce laws when they’re not near transit property?
Absolutely. Transit Police officers are designated provincial constables with full policing powers throughout the province of British Columbia, both on and off duty, same as any municipal police officer. Our focus is on the transit system. Our duty is to enforce laws and to protect people and property.
Is it true that Transit Police officers are all retired from other police forces?
Today, about 70 per cent of our officers started their policing career with Transit Police as police recruits. When we first transitioned to a designated police service in 2005, we needed to quickly fill our ranks with trained and experienced police officers, so were looking to hire those with many years of experience. The majority of those initial officers have since retired after helping to set up our department for success.
Why aren’t Transit Police officers located at every transit hub?
This is not realistic, as our officers respond to calls for service across all modes of transit spread across over 1800 km2, from Bowen Island to White Rock to the West Coast Express station in Mission. This includes SkyTrain (55 Stations), West Coast Express (8 Stations), SeaBus (2 Terminals) and buses (200+ bus routes plus bus stops/exchanges).
How much do Transit Police officers get paid?
Our salaries are comparable to those of other municipal police departments in Metro Vancouver.
What is the difference between Transit Police and Transit Security?
Transit Police officers patrol the transit system, respond to calls, and investigate crime the same as any other police agency. Our officers receive training at the Justice Institute of BC Police Academy. Similar to municipal police, Transit Police are overseen by a police board. Transit Police officer conduct, similar to municipal police, is overseen by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner and the Independent Investigations Office.
Transit Security officers primarily patrol the bus system. In some circumstances they can make arrests and are able to serve fare infraction notices. Transit Security investigate incidents that are of a non-criminal nature.
Why do I see you writing tickets to homeless people or students? Can’t you give them a break?
Police officers take notes when interacting with people. Just because an officer has their notebook out does not necessarily mean that they are issuing a fine. Our priority is to ensure that everyone is safe and that can include assessing a person’s ability to care for themselves, getting them in touch with resources like shelter or food banks, or investigating a crime they may have experienced or witnessed.
Having said that, everyone who is inside a Fare Paid Zone is at risk of receiving a $173 fine. The Transit Tariff does not discriminate based on age or life circumstances.
Why do Transit Police officers need to carry guns?
We are provincial police officers trained at the Police Academy at the Justice Institute of BC. Provincial regulations require that police officers in British Columbia be armed. We frequently respond to violent offenders and weapons calls, and therefore need to be prepared at all times while on duty.
Why do I not see Transit Police officers on buses?
The transit system is over 1,800 km2. In order to provide the most effective service, our deployment is based on intelligence reports and crime statistics. That generally keeps us close to SkyTrain. However, Transit Police respond to incidents on all modes of transit, and we work in partnership with Transit Security who focus on keeping bus and SeaBus safe.
I’ve seen Transit Police officers pull over people for speeding and take part in roadblocks. Shouldn’t they be focusing on transit?
While our focus is on the transit system, Transit Police officers are sworn to uphold the law no matter where they are in the Province. If they see someone driving dangerously, or any other offence occur, they are duty bound to take action, regardless of where they are.
We often participate in joint projects with our jurisdictional policing partners to keep our city safe for everyone. This can include roadblocks to take impaired drivers off the road to keep it safe for transit commuters, or participating in targeting prolific shoplifters operating near transit stations.
Is the Transit Police TransLink’s private police service?
No. Transit Police is a designated police service established under the Police Act and governed by a police board, not TransLink. We are funded out of the same budget as TransLink and work in partnership with transit employees, however we are accountable to the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Board.
I see people go on transit without paying all the time. What is Transit Police doing to stop fare evaders?
While fare enforcement is not one of our four operational priorities, it is an area of responsibility that we take seriously. Our response to fare evasion is guided by intelligence reports and data as to the location of fare evasion “hot spots”.
How can I share a compliment or a complaint about a Transit Police officer?
If a Transit Police officer went above and beyond for you, we would love to hear about it. Please share your story with us via our website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Our officers are held to an extremely high standard of conduct. If you feel that standard wasn’t met, please let us know. Contact our Professional Standards Unit to file a complaint.