Assaults on employees must end: TTC Chair

Toronto Transit Commission Chair, Adam Giambrone, today spoke out on the issue of operator assaults, telling Torontonians, TTC customers and TTC employees that criminal acts, such as threatening, punching or spitting on an operator, or another passenger, will not be tolerated.

“Everyday, a TTC driver is assaulted on the job. They are verbally abused. They are threatened. They are punched. They are spat on. Enough is enough,” said Giambrone. “The message is clear: if you commit a crime on one of our vehicles we will catch you, arrest you, charge you, and prosecute you. Criminal acts have no place on public transit. Our employees and customers deserve to work and travel in peace. We are committed to ensuring that happens.”

To date, the TTC has installed cameras on more than 1,300 of its vehicles. By the end of February 2009, the entire fleet of buses, streetcars and Wheel-Trans vehicles will be equipped with cameras. Images from cameras will be accessed when a criminal investigation is launched, whether for an operator assault, assault on another passenger, or any other law enforcement matter that occurs on a TTC vehicle.

In 2007, there were 667 assaults and threats against operators. Some have been threatened with death, punched, choked, or spat on. TTC Special Constables work closely with the Toronto Police Service to apprehend suspects. The cameras have assisted with 66 cases of assault and other criminal activity aboard TTC vehicles since January of this year. Each bus and streetcar is equipped with four cameras.

“Employees who are assaulted or threatened aren’t just harmed physically; there is often emotional and psychological trauma – both to them and their families,” said Giambrone. “No one deserves to be treated this way and we are committed to ending those criminal acts.”

The Toronto Transit Commission moves 460 million people every year – about 1.5 million riders every weekday. The TTC is the third largest public transit system in North America servicing some 4.5 million people in the Greater Toronto Area, with a network of subways, streetcars, buses, and a specialized service, Wheel-Trans, for people who require accessible transportation. The TTC is committed to meeting the growing needs of the region with subway and light rail expansion, carrying an additional 175 million riders by 2021. 

Fact Sheet

November 7, 2008 

  • Cameras on buses and streetcars are being installed to ensure the safety and security of TTC employees, customers and property
  • Cameras act as both a deterrent and investigation tool for police and TTC Special Constables
  • In 2008, 66 images have been downloaded from cameras for criminal investigation purposes
  • To date, cameras have been installed on 1,206 buses and 165 streetcars
  • All buses and streetcars will be equipped with cameras by the end of February 2009
  • Each vehicle will have four cameras, for a total of 7,976 cameras
  • The capital cost of security cameras on surface vehicles is $19.8 million
  • Last year, 667 TTC operators were assaulted or threatened while on duty
  • Those who assault TTC employees will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, as the TTC is working with the Crown Attorney’s office to track assault cases and assist with prosecutions
  • The new Toronto Rocket subway trains will have cameras installed on its cars when they begin to arrive in Toronto in 2010
  • There are approximately 900 cameras in subway stations today; by 2011 there will be 2,300 cameras
  • The TTC takes the safety of its customers and employees extremely seriously and encourages anyone who witnesses a criminal act on TTC property to contact police
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