Transportation Committee hears concerns of violence on Transit buses

A Saskatoon Transit user spoke to the City of Saskatoon’s Transportation Committee to highlight her concerns about the increasing violence and disrespect on buses. Mary Fedun invited the General Manager of Transportation and Construction, Terry Schmidt to take a few trips on the west side bus routes to experience what is really happening. She said, “I want you to hear and I want you to feel, and I want you to be able to say, as you hear someone treated like a piece of dirt, how you would feel, because right now it is horrible. Yes, there are times when it’s fine, but the other has become prevalent.”

Fedun added that last month there were four violent incidents reported in the media – three men were fighting on a bus, a bus driver was assaulted and there were two stabbing incidents, where two people were injured in one incident and one in the other. Terry Schmidt acknowledged that there have been a number of concerning incidents recently, and the work continues with stakeholders to find more solutions. He explained that increasing violence on buses is a Canada-wide issue.

Recruitment is under way for the six new CSOs who will be assigned to the bus routes where most of the incidents happen, as of July 1st. There will be training, including de-escalation training, and then when they are on the bus, they will also have direct access to backup resources like their supervisors, or in more serious situations, the police. Schmidt said, “The CSOs supporting Transit will focus their efforts on stations and on routes where incidents are occurring more frequently and coverage will be from 8 in the morning through to 12:15 a.m. 7 days a week. The CSOs won’t work alone. They will be assigned in pairs.