Safety shields now installed on 3/4 of Winnipeg Transit buses

The stabbing death of a Transit driver in 2017 prompted a program to install safety shields to protect operators. The city of Winnipeg has installed 476 shields with 165 buses still waiting for the equipment.

Program to install shields suffered delay, but is set to be complete by spring

A Winnipeg Transit operator tries out the new bus shield. The full fleet should be equipped with shields in the next five months. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

An eight-week glitch in the supply chain interrupted the installation of safety shields on Winnipeg Transit buses, but the whole fleet should have the protective covers on board by June.

The shields were recommended after Transit driver Jubal Fraser was stabbed to death during an altercation with a passenger in 2017.

Councillors on the city's infrastructure and public works committee were given an update Tuesday on the $3.15 million program:

Safety shields on board by June

CBC News Manitoba

1 year ago
Program to install safety shields on Winnipeg Transit buses suffered delay, but is set to be complete by spring. 1:41

476 shields have been installed so far with another 165 buses yet to be equipped. The model the city chose is a two-pane adjustable shield preferred by operators, at a cost of about $3,700 per shield.

Transit managers told the committee the installation program stalled last year for several weeks after the manufacturer reported difficulty obtaining glass to make the shields.

The problem was eventually corrected and the supplier began shipping 30 shields a week, up from an original 15 units.

"I think it's a good news story," public works chair Matt Allard told reporters.

Winnipeg Transit inspectors get protective vests as part of safety upgrades. (Wendy Beulow/CBC)

"Public works is doing everything they can to get the shields installed. We heard they are installing the shields as fast as they are being delivered from the producer," Allard said.

In reaction to multiple incidents on Transit buses, the city has improved security surveillance systems to respond to inappropriate behaviour and assist in identifying suspects involved in crimes on buses.

Former Winnipeg Transit drivers have been hired as inspectors to provide security for both operators and passengers on city buses.