TTC deploying 80 additional staff to focus on safety amid rash of violence
A Toronto Transit Commission sign is shown at a downtown Toronto subway stop Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Published Friday, January 27, 2023 7:11PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 27, 2023 7:11PM EST
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is adding dozens of staff across the system daily in an effort to increase safety as it grapples with recent violent attacks that have left many riders shaken.
In a news release issued Friday evening, the TTC said 80 employees, including maintenance and transportation managers, will rotate throughout the subway system during peak service effective immediately.
"Managers will be highly visible and will conduct system cleanliness as well as health and safety audits," the TTC said.
The new measure is being implemented in the wake of a rash of violence on the TTC this week that saw two passengers, including a 16-year-old boy, stabbed and several employees attacked, one of which was shot with a BB gun.
The TTC said its CEO, Rick Leary, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw, TTC Chair Jon Burnside and union leaders met on Friday to discuss how to enhance safety on the transit system.
Officials also discussed possible long-term actions that could be taken to prevent crimes from happening on the TTC. In the news release, officials were also said to be considering bringing in experts from the housing and mental health and addictions sectors to address the matter.
"The TTC must be safe for everyone – passengers and transit employees. We're continuing to work with the TTC, Toronto Police, and TTC union leadership to make sure we are immediately addressing safety concerns," Tory said in a statement.
"As a transit agency, we find ourselves faced with complex societal challenges that are not part of our core business. They require creative, comprehensive and outside-the-box solutions," Leary said.
On Thursday, Toronto police announced that 80 extra Toronto police officers were being deployed throughout the system in an attempt to increase security and deter further incidents.
"In collaboration with our transit and city partners, we are taking immediate action to address safety issues on the TTC with a highly visible presence throughout the system, to support TTC Special Constables, and to ensure that both passengers and transit employees feel a sense of security," Demkiw said.
The TTC said the deployment of more staff is just one of the significant steps it is taking to address safety. They include hiring additional constables, increasing Streets to Homes workers in hotspots in the systems, and adding more station supervisors and chief and mobile supervisors on the subway to audit station security regularly.
The transit agency added that it is also in the process of ensuring all of its chief and mobile supervisors are trained in de-escalation.
Meanwhile, Toronto MP Marco Mendicino, the minister of public safety, tweeted Friday that the recent attacks on the TTC "are very concerning." He said he spoke to Tory and offered federal support to the city.
We’ll continue to work closely with Toronto to support law enforcement, address mental health issues and ensure we are providing the wrap around services that people need - so we can keep our public transit and communities safe," Mendicino tweeted.