'It could have been me,' Winnipeg bus driver says after colleague's death

The stabbing death of a Winnipeg bus driver on the job earlier this week left a mark on a pair of his co-workers who were working on Wednesday.

Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Fraser, 58, was stabbed outside his bus around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning

Duane Harris has been driving a Winnipeg Transit bus for more than two years. He says the bus driver killed on the job earlier this week could easily have been him. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

A pair of Winnipeg bus drivers say the stabbing death of a colleague on the job earlier this week has left them shaken.

Irvine Fraser, 58, was stabbed multiple times outside his bus on the University of Manitoba campus early Tuesday morning.

Duane Harris, who has been driving for Winnipeg Transit for 2½ years, says the incident brings a tear to his eye.

"It could have been me, you know? Easily," he said during his shift Wednesday.

Irvine Fraser, 58, died Tuesday after he was attacked on the University of Manitoba campus. (Facebook)

Like Fraser, Harris works the late shift, and is often the last driver on a route.

Last fall, Harris said he was parked on campus at the University of Winnipeg around 1 or 2 a.m. after a shift, waiting to take other bus drivers home.

A man appeared in the window of the bus, demanding to be let in. When Harris declined, he said the man started banging on the windows, drawing his finger across his throat and saying "I'm going to kill you."

"It's kind of scary," Harris said. "That guy was threatening me. If he got on [the bus] or something, I would've did something. But who knows if he had a gun or a knife or something?"

Harris said he radioed in to the call centre and waited 20 minutes, but no help came. An hour later, police phoned him to follow up, but he was already home, he said. 

'It could be anything'

Roger Jones, another transit driver, said he's never been attacked on the job — "knock on wood" — but passengers have lashed out at him verbally.

"It could be anything. I mean, a lot of times it's, you know for example, somebody's sleeping, they wake up, they missed their stop, and they're pissed off at you because, you know, they fell asleep," he said.

"There's lots of different things. Fare, people don't want to pay their fare. People are breaking the rules such as smoking or things like that, they don't like to be told not to do it."

Jones said Fraser's death has changed how he feels at work, making him more wary of the people around him.

"I don't know how it can't," he said. "It's a sad — a sad day."

Jones said he'd like to see the city bring in shields to protect bus drivers from future attacks, but Harris disagreed.

"I don't think closing us in any more would help," Harris said. "Not really sure what would help, to tell you the truth."

A 22-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder for Fraser's death.

With files from Erin Brohman