Man pushed onto tracks at Bloor-Yonge marks 3rd such incident at station this year
People wait to board a northbound train at Bloor-Yonge station on Saturday, March 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Published Monday, February 20, 2023 10:46AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 20, 2023 11:03AM EST
The suspect in an attempted push of a passenger at Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge subway station Sunday afternoon is still at large, according to police.
The incident marks the third attempted incident of this kind at Toronto’s busiest subway station this year.
The Toronto Police Service says a report filed Sunday claimed the incident occurred just before 4:30 p.m. on the station’s westbound platform.
The victim, a man, was reportedly pushed onto track level by a male suspect but managed to get himself back onto the platform uninjured.
The suspect has been described by police as a Black male wearing a black do-rag, a dark jacket, and dark track pants.
Police have not released any other information about the circumstances leading up to the incident.
So far in 2023, Toronto police have responded to two other attempted pushings on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – both at Bloor-Yonge station.
On Jan. 3, a man was pushed onto the Bloor-Yonge tracks following an argument with another man. The accused was arrested at the scene, and charged with assault.
About two weeks later, on Jan. 20, a man in his 50s was arrested just before 10:30 p.m. at Bloor-Yonge station after allegedly attempting to push another rider onto the tracks.
In recent months, Toronto’s transit system has been at the centre of a string of violent – and, at times, seemingly random – crimes, prompting increased enforcement and police presence. In the last 30 days, TPS has notified the public of at least 20 different violent crimes – including the recent pushings – against riders or employees of the transit system. In the weeks before that, a string of muggings, assaults, and a fatal stabbing at a west end station, prompted calls for national action.
"These random incidents are, by their very nature, unpredictable," TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said last month to CP24.
"How we are addressing this is we're going to have more bodies in the station."
As to what else can be done to prevent further violence, Green said there needs to be cooperation between the TTC and other government agencies to address the root causes.
"We're a transit agency. We're not a social service agency. Our core business is public transit. We have an obligation to our customers to keep them safe. And we will do that as best we can," Green said.
Bloor-Yonge Station is the country’s busiest subway station and its platforms are often jam-packed during high-traffic periods. The station is set to receive a $1.5-billion facelift in the coming years, which will provide more platform space.
The improvements planned include a second platform to enhance capacity for eastbound passengers, wider platforms for both northbound and southbound commuters, as well as a new exit to Bloor Street, and new escalators, elevators, and stairs. The city has previously said it hopes to start construction on the project in 2024.
In 2022, after a woman was pushed onto Bloor-Yonge tracks and avoided an incoming train by rolling under the lip of the platform, advocates argued for platform edge doors to keep passengers from falling onto the tracks or coming into the path of an oncoming train.
Just a few months prior to that, in November 2021, a man survived being pushed onto the tracks at Bloor-Yonge Station and dragged a short distance by a train. In 2018, a 73-year-old man was fatally pushed in front of an incoming train at the station.
As recently as 2018, the cost to install platform barriers throughout Toronto’s subway network was pegged at more than $1-billion.
With files from CP24’s Jordan Fleguel, Josh Freeman, and Bryann Aguilar.