In recent times, incidents of violence on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) vehicles have been a growing concern. As we take a closer look at the timeline of TTC violence over the past year, it becomes apparent that this issue demands immediate attention.
January – April 2023: A Shocking Surge in Violence
The year 2023 began on a grim note for TTC employees, with more than 50 reported assaults on drivers in just the first four months. These incidents constituted nearly two-thirds of all violent events reported across the TTC bus network during the same period.
Newly obtained documents, courtesy of a Freedom of Information request by CP24, provide a stark account of criminal incidents on TTC buses from January to April. Among the recorded cases, 91 were categorized as assault calls, with 53 of them involving TTC employees. Additionally, there were 91 criminal complaints classified as threats, with all but two aimed at TTC staff.
While some incidents had previously grabbed headlines – like TTC workers being targeted with BB gun shots – many have only recently come to public attention. Alarming statistics from the TTC show that 41 percent of bus operator assaults in the first quarter were “unprovoked,” up from 35 percent in the same period in 2022.
Examples of Escalating Violence
The documents unveil harrowing accounts of these incidents. In one instance, an operator was attacked with a screwdriver while returning from the employee washroom at St. Clair Station, resulting in a leg injury that required hospital treatment.
In another case, two individuals confronted a driver near Finch Avenue and Jane Street after a skipped stop. The driver explained it was due to construction, but one of the suspects menacingly remarked, “that’s why you bus drivers get stabbed,” while the other threw a rock at the operator.
In yet another incident near Queen Street and University Avenue, a disgruntled passenger approached a supervisor to complain about bus routing, ultimately threatening to kill the worker before shoving him.
The Impact of Service Cuts
According to Alfred, a spokesperson for the TTC, the problem of violence has been exacerbated by service cuts. Frustrated passengers have increasingly directed their anger towards frontline employees, further compounding the safety concerns.
Conclusion: A Call for Action
The escalating violence on TTC vehicles is a matter of grave concern, not only for the dedicated employees but also for the safety of passengers. It is imperative that Toronto responds to this issue promptly and decisively to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone using the TTC. As we move forward, addressing the root causes of these incidents and implementing measures to enhance safety on public transit should be a top priority.