ATU 1505 Thrilled to Support Glen Murray's Transit Safety Plan

WINNIPEG, August 18, 2022 – Glen Murray Commits to a ten-point plan for a safer Public Transit Service for passengers, Transit workers, and the general public.

James Van Gerwen, ATU 1505’s executive vice-president, said the union supports Murray’s pledges, although the plan doesn’t include a dedicated transit security force with the power to detain unruly passengers, something the union has advocated for in the past (Pursaga, 2022).

“I still think that there needs to be some kind of (security) presence on the bus. But (this) plan is to have, at least, the police in the area and actually have the ability to contact 911 and the proper services that we need,” Van Gerwen said (Pursaga, 2022).

“It’s a step in the right direction” (Pursaga, 2022).


Glen Murray Commits to Safer Transit Service

Ten-point plan to enhance safety of passengers, bus operators and general public

Accompanied by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 Vice President James Van Gerwen, attending on behalf of President Romeo Ignacio, today Glen Murray announced his support for initiatives to enhance the safety and comfort of transit passengers, bus operators and the public.

“I’ve met with the ATU local executive, and I support their priority requests as part of building a more safe and equitable transit service for all Winnipeggers,” Glen said.

Together with ATU’s priorities, Glen has developed a ten-point plan for a safer transit system:

  1. Rapidly replace the obsolete radio communication system, which is not operational in parts of the city because of “dead zones” in coverage.

  2. Provide extended protective shields for greater bus operator safety. Current shields do not provide adequate coverage and protection in the event of a violent attack.

  3. Allow – and in fact encourage – bus operators to call 911 when they observe an emergency situation, in addition to pressing the onboard button that alerts the Transit Control Centre. Bus operators should not be the only people in the city restricted or discouraged from calling 911 when they believe someone is in danger.

  4. Cross-train safety teams of staff and/or experienced community members and professionals with skills in mental health and conflict resolution to be available when conflict occurs on buses. The roles and responsibilities of these groups would be determined through engagement and discussion to ensure participation and support from community and transit user groups. Groups focused on safety and well-being such as SABE Peace Walkers, Bear Clan, and Mama Bear Clan could be fully engaged in developing a safety and crisis intervention team.

  5. Build on community policing efforts by restoring Community Support Unit police officers walking the beat in areas of need identified in community safety plans. These officers would be notified of any violent incident in their jurisdiction and be available to assist. This would be focused on areas with high transit volumes (e.g., Main, Portage, Osborne, and Selkirk). Community policing and foot patrol officers will be addressed in a policy paper to be released shortly, looking at neighbourhood safety plans.

  6. Complete Transit’s on-bus video streaming security program based on the positive results of a pilot that involved 50 buses. The technology would be installed in the remaining 590 buses in the fleet and implemented in compliance with The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and related provincial regulations and in cooperation with the Manitoba Ombudsman.

  7. Ensure that all buses Winnipeg buys and refurbishes have more flip-up seats to accommodate all users – from wheelchairs to strollers – with a priority on assigning those buses to the routes with the highest frequency of mobility aids and strollers.

  8. Support the bus shelter outreach and maintenance initiative run by the Exchange District Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) in which BIZ staff check in on and wake up people at 8:00 am and make sure they are okay, then clean up the bus shelters for transit users. This program would be developed and expanded in conjunction with BIZs and community organizations in other locations across the city.

  9. Undertake a safety audit of transit stations and stops, prioritizing locations with reported incidents, with immediate supports provided to those locations.

  10. Conduct a competition to create a new series of bus shelter designs for Winnipeg Transit to address safety, beauty in design, winter and harsh weather conditions, wayfinding information, complete bus arrivals information, maps, access to emergency services response, access to information for help and shelter services, good lighting and defensible space designs including clear sight lines, easy exit, enhanced functionality, and deterrents for occupation and entrapment.

“We are glad that Mr. Murray has listened to our concerns and will take the actions needed to resolve the problems we see in our transit system today, namely, the prevalent safety concerns,” said ATU President, Romeo Ignacio. “Improvements to the public transit system will bring profound transformation to our beloved city.”

“We are proud to work with Mr. Murray to build a safe, reliable, and efficient transit system that the citizens of Winnipeg deserve”, added Ignacio.

“Building a safer, more inclusive transit system is a key part of a growing, thriving and safer city. As Mayor, working with Winnipeg Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, I’ll get it done,” Glen stated.

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Pursaga, J. (2022, August 18). Murray unveils extensive plan to increase safety on city buses.  The Free Press.  Retrieved from