The Transit Commission on Wednesday approved a Walk and Ride program that will see more special constables walking beats throughout the OC Transpo system.

OC Transpo special constables will be spending less time in their patrol cars and more time walking the system, starting in January.

The Walk and Ride program was announced during the Transit Commission's meeting on Wednesday. 

"It's about visibility out in the system, and they'll be part of the experience with the customers," said OC Transpo general manager John Manconi.

There are 48 OC Transpo special constables and 12 fare inspectors who patrol the system on a rotating basis.

At least one platoon of special constables will ride the buses and walk around Transitway stations. Starting in May, they'll ride bikes and use bus-mounted bike racks.

Special constables who do use vehicles will spend more time in visible places.

"With their vehicles that they currently do patrol in, we're gonna start to put them in visible places at the transit station so that customers know they're there," Manconi said.

Some cameras for buses, O-Train cars approved

Transit commission members also approved OC Transpo's budget, which includes money for security cameras on about 12 new buses and new O-Train cars set to enter service next year.

There are no plans to retrofit the current fleet with cameras.

The commission also agreed to review its advertising standards.

Nearly 140,000 Presto cards are in use, and about 10,000 of those have contracts. The remaining 130,000 have to manually add money or passes to their cards, and many aren't using the online payment system.

The commission said that's leading to long lineups at OC Transpo sales centres, which OC Transpo had been hoping to eliminate with the new Presto system.

Staff told the commission employees will be approaching people in lineups to encourage them to sign up for contracts.