Youths attack TTC operators in ‘swarming’ assault

Two TTC employees were allegedly attacked by a large group of youths on a Scarborough bus Monday afternoon in what the transit agency described as a “despicable swarming.”

Toronto police received a call at 3:35 pm about a group of 10-15 youths in an altercation on a bus near Kennedy and Merrian Roads, just south of Kennedy Station. As a result of the altercation, two uniformed TTC employees were assaulted, Const said. Laura Brabant.

The group fled the scene, police said, and the TTC employees’ injuries were determined to be non-life threatening.

The bus operator was about to make a driver change when the incident occurred, Brabant said.

Police investigators and TTC special constables were interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage Monday evening to get a better idea of ​​what transpired, she said.

The TTC confirmed the incident Monday evening.

“We will, as always, give our police full co-operation and any video we have. Attacks on transit employees are covered under a special provision of the Criminal Code,” the agency tweeted.

Mayor John Tory put out a call for witnesses of the alleged assault, which came less than 48 hours after a TTC bus driver was shot with a BB gun in Scarborough on Saturday.

“We have to put an end to these acts of violence and disrespect against transit workers,” Tory tweeted.

He also referred to another swarming incident last month where a group of girls allegedly murdered a homeless man near Union Station.

“I am also very concerned about the increasing number of criminal acts involving young people. I strongly believe this is something all governments have to work together to urgently address with social and mental health experts,” Tory said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents TTC workers, said: “Transit workers should not have to go to work in fear of their lives.

“These attacks leave long-term psychological impacts that remain with our members long after their physical wounds have healed. This continued pattern of criminal behavior cannot, and will not, be tolerated. There must be accountability.”

“Our members are disgusted with the repeated and escalated acts of violence against transit workers,” said ATU Local 113 president Marvin Alfred.

Monday’s statement from the transit union said it has continued to ask Tory and TTC CEO Rick Leary for help.

“Listen to the individuals who are your eyes and ears on the ground. It’s getting out of hand and public transit needs to be safe again for our workers and passengers,” the union’s statement concluded.

Transit users have been speaking out against proposed TTC service cuts they say could further put riders’ safety at risk while violent incidents on subways and streetcars are on the rise.

The TTC recently proposed its 2023 operating budget with changes to address a $366-million budget shortfall.

It includes a 10-cent fare hike and running nine per cent less service this year compared to levels in place before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police are asking anyone with information concerning Monday’s incident that could help with the case to contact them.

With files from The Canadian Press.

Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based reporter covering climate change for the Star. Reach him via email: moved@thestar.ca

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