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ATU Local 615 President Darcy Pederson has been calling on Saskatoon Transit to retrotfit the City Of Saskatoon buses with protect

The union representing Saskatoon's transit drivers is calling on the city to bring in security officers to enforce the mandatory mask rule.

SASKATOON -- Saskatoon’s transit union would like to see help for drivers who encounter riders not willing to comply with the City of Saskatoon's mask mandate on city buses.

The drivers' union has long called for more protection for its members; 28 assaults on drivers were reported over the last three years.

Saskatoon city bus drivers are set to receive the protection from violent passengers their union has long been calling for.

City council voted unanimously in favour of allocating $500,000 to begin outfitting buses with enclosed driver compartments. The goal is to find more money to retrofit the entire fleet of 140 vehicles beginning in 2022.

The union representing bus drivers says compliance with the mask rule is as low as 50 per cent on some routes.

Masks have been required on Saskatoon Transit buses for almost two months, but not everyone is donning a face covering before paying their fare and taking their seat.

Now, with COVID-19 cases spiking, the union representing the city’s bus drivers and a grassroots passenger group say more should be done to enforce the rule.

Under the policy, city hall will concentrate on "educating and informing" the public while Saskatoon Transit staff will monitor and document compliance.

Darcy Pederson says he welcomes a new policy requiring everyone riding city buses to wear non-medical face masks — and that the drivers he represents will not be tasked with enforcing it.

“Operators not enforcing it is great as it will only cause conflict, and that’s the last thing we want,” the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 said Monday afternoon.

Councillors also back continuing to recommend, but not requiring masks, at city-owned buildings

Saskatoon city councillors have preliminarily backed the idea of mandating masks for Saskatoon Transit riders starting on Sept. 1.

The city had laid out three options and recommended option two, which would mandate masks on buses.

That option also has the city continuing to recommend that people wear masks when they visit such city-owned facilities as Shaw Centre and the Lawson, Cosmo and Lakewood civic centres. 

Around a dozen drivers have refused to use them, arguing they obstruct the passenger-side mirror when installed on the city's New Flyer buses

Saskatoon Transit drivers are not happy with the plastic curtains installed to shield them from passengers, devices the head of their union says only work properly on some buses in the fleet.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 president Darcy Pederson said the curtains were measured and cut for the city’s Nova buses and can obstruct the right-hand mirror when installed on New Flyer models.

Saskatoon Transit drivers are not happy with the plastic curtains installed to shield them from passengers, devices the head of their union says only work properly on some buses in the fleet.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 president Darcy Pederson said the curtains were measured and cut for the city’s Nova buses and can obstruct the right-hand mirror when installed on New Flyer models.

HAMILTON, JULY 10, 2019 -- ATU Canada President John Di Nino is calling for reform after a vicious assault on a GO Transit bus operator in Hamilton.

“As he has done for the past 30 years, an ATU operator working for GO Transit pulled up to a bus stop, except this time a passenger unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks on him resulting in hospitalization. Twenty-two other passengers had to witness this traumatic assault,” said Di Nino.