Sudbury

'Can't put a price on safety': CUPE pushes for better security on Sudbury transit after assault

The union representing transit workers in Sudbury, Ont., is calling for improved safety measures after a bus driver was attacked on the job last Sunday with a knife.

Labour group asking for panic button, security guards and barriers separating bus drivers from passengers

A 34-year-old man is facing eight charges after assaulting a bus driver in Sudbury, Ont., last Sunday with a knife. (CBC)

The union representing transit workers in Sudbury, Ont., is calling for improved safety measures after a bus driver was attacked on the job last Sunday, with a knife.

"Security on the buses, panic buttons, everything is on the table," Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4705 president Darryl Taylor said.

"Ultimately, you can't put a price on safety for the workers and for the public."   

A 34-year-old Sudbury man has been arrested for the incident, which was caught on transit security tape.

According to police, he jumped out of a moving taxi on Ramsey Lake Road around midnight, ran down the street to board a bus, and then cut the driver's forearm and neck.

The driver pinned down the man before officers arrived, police said.

'You will be prosecuted'

Taylor called the assault "disappointing," especially since cameras have been installed on every city bus to deter violence. 

"If you are going to commit an assault or any crime on board a city bus, you are going to be on camera and you will be prosecuted," Taylor said.

The man who was arrested faces eight charges, including:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Possession of a schedule II substance
  • Resisting peace officer
  • Failure to comply with probation order x 4
  • Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose

Attacks on Sudbury bus drivers are rare, according to Greater Sudbury Police staff sergeant Rick Waugh, but he noted transit workers run into all types of situations and people.

'Never know what could or might happen'

"There is some definite risk involved anytime that you're working that close to the community," Waugh said.

"You just never know what could or might happen."

The driver who was assaulted has been released from hospital and is recovering, according to Taylor. 

Barriers should be installed on buses to separate drivers from passengers, Taylor added.

Waugh did not want to comment on the safety measures in place at Greater Sudbury Transit, but said: "Anything that can be put into place to keep anybody safer is always a good thing."

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