November 21, 2018

Winnipeg
-12° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Transit-related violence data 'not a surprise,' union leader says

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Winnipeg Transit reported 51 assaults on drivers in 2017.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Transit reported 51 assaults on drivers in 2017.

The union that represents Winnipeg Transit employees says time is running out for city hall to deal with the issue of transit-related violence.

Aleem Chaudhary, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, said data recently released by the Winnipeg Police Service shows the problem of transit-related safety goes beyond operator concerns.

“The facts show the situation is getting worse every year, and it’s not a surprise to us,” Chaudhary said Tuesday. “This mayor and council have to accept the responsibility to ensure safety is the top priority for Transit.”

Chaudhary was responding to numbers provided by the WPS that show all incidents of violence -- including assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, homicides, and threats -- not only involving Transit operators but all incidents occurring on buses and at or near stops and shelters.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

The union that represents Winnipeg Transit employees says time is running out for city hall to deal with the issue of transit-related violence.

Aleem Chaudhary, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, said data recently released by the Winnipeg Police Service shows the problem of transit-related safety goes beyond operator concerns.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 president Aleem Chaudhary said data recently released by the Winnipeg Police Service shows the problem of transit-related safety goes beyond operator concerns.</p>

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 president Aleem Chaudhary said data recently released by the Winnipeg Police Service shows the problem of transit-related safety goes beyond operator concerns.

"The facts show the situation is getting worse every year, and it’s not a surprise to us," Chaudhary said Tuesday. "This mayor and council have to accept the responsibility to ensure safety is the top priority for Transit."

Chaudhary was responding to numbers provided by the WPS that show all incidents of violence — including assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, homicides, and threats — not only involving Transit operators but all incidents occurring on buses and at or near stops and shelters.

In 2017, while Winnipeg Transit's numbers reported 51 assaults on drivers, the WPS said there had been 126 incidents of transit-related violence for the same year.

"It’s not a surprise to us," Chaudhary said. "We know this is happening."

The WPS said there were 62 transit-related violent incidents to the end of August this year.

"The incidents of violence tends to increase at this time of year," Chaudhary said. "People find themselves under pressure, emotional and financially, and the number of assaults increases."

Joseph Kornelsen, president of the advocacy group Functional Transit Winnipeg, said safety concerns now rival those of the need for greater investment and improved service.

 

"Crime and safety across Winnipeg isn’t the sole responsibility of Transit but Transit has to take responsibility and steps to deal with violence when it occurs on their buses and bus stops," Kornelsen said, adding the group supports the union’s call for the establishment of a dedicated security force.

A WPS spokesman said the downtown foot patrol is focusing on the Graham Avenue bus corridor and Portage Avenue bus stops, where many of the violent incidents are occurring.

"Efforts have been made to increase officer presence during high-volume transit hours such as daily rush hours, where people are coming to and from work and other events in our downtown area," Const. Jay Murray said, adding police are working with Winnipeg Transit to identify other routes prone to transit-related incidents.

However, Chaudhary said police can't be everywhere.

"The incidents of violence is higher on some routes than others, but these situations are happening in all areas of the city: in Southdale, Transcona, Charleswood, Westwood." Chaudhary said. "There is no place or time that you can say is really bad compared to others — it happens everywhere."

Chaudhary said he supports the proposal to have the inner-city safety volunteer group, the Bear Clan Patrol, include Transit buses on their patrols, but he said that only be considered a stop-gap measure.

Representatives of the Bear Clan Patrol met Monday with representatives from the police and Transit, after one of the group's off-duty members was stabbed Sunday while trying to stop an assault on a passenger.

The Bear Clan had offered to post uniformed members on buses earlier this year, but the committee opted to hire nine additional supervisors to beef up security.

Public works chairman Coun. Matt Allard told reporters Monday he expects the Bear Clan proposal will be considered again by the transit advisory committee.

However, Chaudhary said he’s been disappointed with the work of that committee, which was established in the wake of the 2017 killing of Transit operator Irvine Jubal Fraser to develop safety initiatives.

The ability of the advisory committee to find appropriate solutions is restricted because it doesn't control the funding, he said.

"All these things cost money, but the committee really doesn’t control the finances," Chaudhary said. "We need better security on buses. We need shields for the drivers.

"If you don’t spent the money now, when will you? The situation is getting worse every year."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us