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This article was published 17/12/2018 (811 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE transit advisory committee is recommending all Winnipeg Transit operators participate in an highly-praised training program designed and delivered by the Main Street Project for new drivers.
Coun. Matt Allard, chairman of the advisory committee which makes recommendations to council’s public works committee, said the advisory committee was pleased with the work of the training program for new drivers and wants to see it expanded.
"We would like to see the training provided to all drivers," Allard (St. Boniface) said of the consensus recommendation of the committee.
The program helps transit operators to respond and deal with individuals suffering from homelessness and addictions, and various ways to de-escalate potentially conflicting situations and how to avoid reaching those points with some riders.
The program was praised by John DiNino, Canadian president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), who told the Free Press last week that all front-line workers, not just transit drivers, should take the course.
The four-hour session has been provided to about 100 new drivers since it was offered in August. Officials from ATU Local 1505, which represents all drivers and other transit staff, want the program offered to all drivers.
Randy Tonnellier, transit’s manager of operations, told the Free Press last week the training was offered to new drivers only as a pilot, which is about to end and whether it’s extended or expanded to include all drivers depended in part on the recommendation from the advisory committee.
Allard, who is also chairman of the public works committee, said the advisory committee was told that transit management will make recommendations to the public works committee in January.
He said the advisory committee also endorsed the installation of operator safety shields on transit buses but Allard said a decision on whether the shields should be installed on all buses will be left to transit management and council in its 2019 budget review process.
A proposal to have members of the Bear Clan Patrol ride transit buses was referred back to a subcommittee, Allard said, for more discussion with the organization.
Allard said clarification is needed on what would be expected from Bear Clan Patrol members and issues of liability had to be sorted out.
The transit advisory committee was established in the fall of 2017, as of one the recommendations that emerged following the brutal killing of transit operator Irvine Jubal Fraser by a passenger on Feb. 14, 2017.
The committee includes representation from transit management, Winnipeg Police, and the advocacy group Functional Transit Winnipeg. Also on the committee are representatives from the transit union (ATU) and the union that represents the city’s middle-management and supervisory staff.