WINNIPEG — The president of the Amalgamted Transit Union said another three incidents related to bus safety were reported on Saturday, just hours after a man was seen on board a transit vehicle with an axe and brass knuckles.
John Callahan wouldn’t discuss the incidents in detail, but said there were safety protocols that were not followed. He said the list of dangerous incidents happening on Winnipeg Transit vehicles is adding up.
“These things are very concerning, not only to myself, but to my membership, as well as the riding public,” Callahan said.
Since Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed on the final stop of his bus route on February 14, Callahan said more drivers have been threatened. Last weekend, he said a passenger threatened to stab a driver. A week before that, he said a passenger was on board a bus with a variety of steak knives. These incidents are all on top of an arrest made Friday, where a man was seen on a bus with an axe and brass knuckles.
“We’ve got a lot of emails from our riders who are concerned. They’re looking to me to get things done, so I don’t want to let them down,” he said.
Some riders say there needs to be more police present around buses and bus stops.
“If there were more police to track the passengers going in and out of the bus, it would be a lot safer,” transit rider Elvin Mallari said.
Callahan said a stronger police presence on transit vehicles is something the union is vying for. He said right now there are some undercover officers on board, but he wants to see more.
“The person sitting beside you may be a police officer, you don’t know. That’s the beauty of using this system.”
A comprehensive report looking into current transit safety measures in Winnipeg has been submitted to City Hall. Callahan said the 90 day timeline to hear anything back from the report is too long.
“We’re hoping to actually put some things into play, prior to the report that’s coming,” Callahan said.