On 27th January, TTC CEO Rick Leary, Toronto Mayor John Tory, TTC Chair Jon Burnside and Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, as well as ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred and CUPE 5089 President Dariusz Nowotny, met to discuss ways to enhance employee and customer safety on the TTC.
On 27th January’s meeting was part of ongoing work to enhance public safety on the transit system – several further immediate actions are being explored along with more long-term solutions to address crime on the TTC.
Discussions also focused on further actions that could be taken to strengthen safety on the TTC over the long-term. Potential next steps include working with experts from other sectors such as the housing sector as well as the mental health and addictions sector.
Effective immediately the TTC is deploying additional management staff to be present across the system – approximately 80 employees a day. This includes Maintenance and Transportation Managers who will rotate through the subway network during peak service. Managers will be highly visible and will conduct system cleanliness as well as health and safety audits.
The TTC has already taken a number of significant steps to enhance safety including:
• Increasing the presence of Special Constables as well as hiring additional Special Constables;
• Adding more Station Supervisors, Chief and Mobile Supervisors as well as assistant managers in subway stations to audit station security on a regular basis;
• Deploying more uniformed TTC employees throughout the system who can contact Transit Control directly to assist customers;
• Increasing Streets to Homes workers in hotspots in the system to help individuals in need find supports;
• Improving and adding cameras in all stations and on all vehicles; and
• Having Designated Waiting Areas on every subway platform, with recently-upgraded and easier-to-use two-way communications systems that link directly to TTC staff.
The TTC takes all instances of physical abuse, harassment and threats seriously and continues to work with police to prosecute to the full extent of the law. The TTC works closely with TPS on any violent incident that occurs on the transit system, including those against customers.
“The TTC must be safe for everyone – passengers and transit employees. We’re continuing to work with the TTC, Toronto Police, and TTC union leadership to make sure we are immediately addressing safety concerns. I want to thank everyone for working together collaboratively so that we can deal with these issues head on,” said Mayor John Tory. “I want to thank all the transit workers who have kept the transit system moving throughout this week and who will be on the job this weekend. I know this hasn’t been an easy time for any of them or their families. I also want to thank the additional Toronto Police officers who are patrolling the transit system to increase safety. We appreciate the work you are doing across the TTC today and in the days ahead and your commitment to serve and protect our city.”
Yesterday it was announced that effective immediately the Toronto Police Service (TPS) will be adding upwards of 80 police officers throughout the city’s transit system. This would be in addition to the existing regular patrols that are already underway.
“Everyone needs to feel safe while riding the TTC and we appreciate the added support,” said TTC Chair Jon Burnside. “We know the issues the system is currently facing are complex and there are no easy solutions. The safety of our customers and our employees is top of mind in every decision we make.”
“The TTC is pleased to be a part of ongoing conversations with all our partners to address the recent increase in incidents on our transit system,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “As a transit agency, we find ourselves faced with complex societal challenges that are not part of our core business. They require creative, comprehensive and outside-the-box solutions. I want to thank all the employees who have been more visible in the system over the past few weeks. Our customers know you are there to help and I continue to be impressed with your hard work and dedication.”
“Our number one priority as police is public safety, and that includes the thousands of Torontonians who travel on the TTC every day,” said Chief Myron Demkiw. “In collaboration with our transit and city partners, we are taking immediate action to address safety issues on the TTC with a highly visible presence throughout the system, to support TTC Special Constables, and to ensure that both passengers and transit employees feel a sense of security.”
The TTC is in the process of ensuring that all its Chief and Mobile Supervisors are trained in de-escalation in order to support station staff. The TTC has also updated its schedules to ensure an increased employee presence in hotspots in the system and during peak times.