‘Stress and fear’: Winnipeg Transit union concerned about violence on buses

WINNIPEG — After several violent incidents on city buses this week, the union representing Winnipeg Transit drivers is speaking out, and calling for more security on Winnipeg Transit.

“Our members are feeling the stress and fear of the violence, the growing violence [on] our buses,” said Romeo Ignacio, president of ATU Local 1505.

The union’s call for more safety is on the heels of a week where two violent incidents started on a public bus.

Last Sunday, 57-year-old Raymond Hill was stabbed on a bus in a random attack, later dying from his injuries. 

On Thursday, an argument that started on a bus resulted in a man being assaulted and taken to hospital.

Ignacio believes more security is needed for the safety of the drivers as well as the passengers.

“If we have transit police on our buses, I know [they] may not always be there, but that’s a start,” said Ignacio.

The Winnipeg Police Service said foot patrol officers in the downtown area do ride buses as an added security measure. Cadets also ride the bus as part of their regular duties.

In a statement to CTV News, the City of Winnipeg said:

“Winnipeg Transit remains committed to the safety and security of both transit drivers and the passengers who rely on the service.”

“A number of safety enhancement initiatives have been implemented in the past few years.”

“Most recently, Winnipeg Transit completed the installation of bus operation safety shields on the entire fleet.”

Ignacio said he’d like to see a more consistent police presence on bus routes that need attention.

“The driver shield, we have that, but it’s not the only solution,” he said. “It’s not about money; it should be about the safety of our service for our public.” 

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