WINNIPEG – There is a hue and cry for more safety measures from Winnipeg Transit drivers today.
This comes on the heels of Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Fraser being stabbed to death earlier this week.
Hundreds turned out this morning for a rally in the wake of the stabbing death of a driver earlier this week.
They started outside City Hall but have been marching around, even blocking Portage and Main for a while.
The stabbing actually happened outside of the bus, but transit union boss John Callahan says there have been many instances of drivers being harassed or assaulted behind the wheel.
He says they have to look at new safety measures, including things like safety shields for drivers.
“There are different shields, and maybe we need to look at something that is specially designed for our own needs. There are times when you’re going to want a shield, and times when you’re not going to want a shield. There are shields that are retractable.”
While some drivers agree with this idea, Penny Teron doesn’t think it will be enough.
“They can still reach around, still shoot through that. What good is it going to do with a gun? It’ll help to a point, it’ll help not getting punched, but it’s not going to help the other stuff.
Another possible solution Callahan offered is a fleet of transit police.
“We’re going to have to start small, obviously, but I think there’s opportunity to do that, and we can do it cost-effectively too,” Callahan explains. “It’s a matter of moving some funds around, relocating some individuals, and I think that it’s quite possible to do.”
Another driver, Jamie, whose wife is also a driver, pleaded with the crowd that something has to be done.
“My daughter had to console my 10-year-old granddaughter who wants to know if their nana and opa are going to be OK at work. I fear a supervisor will one day pull me off a bus and tell me my wife had an incident. Fellow drivers stood in front of city council, I told them that something major will happen. My trust in the system has been breached.”
As of the rally, nearly $30,000 had been raised for Fraser’s family, and the funds were transferred to his family at the rally.