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City of Winnipeg

Winnipeg Transit

Transit Safety Initiatives

Winnipeg Transit is committed to providing a safe transit service in Winnipeg, and a safe work environment for all of our employees.

The Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) provides guidance for all potential new safety initiatives. It is made up of representatives from Council, Transit leadership, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Winnipeg Committee for Safety, the Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers (WAPSO), the City of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Relations Division, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), and Transit Operators.

Since 2017, the City has made $9.6M in investments in Transit safety initiatives, which have either been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

Here is some background information about previous investments and initiatives Transit has made in safety, including (but not limited to):

Operator Training:

  • All new Operators are provided with an extensive 30-day training program, which includes classroom and on-board instruction and regular service observation.
  • It includes modules on assault prevention and de-escalation techniques, self-defence, good customer relations, and dealing with difficult customer situations, with presentations provided by our Operations Superintendent and the ATU.
  • We also provide safety training to our existing Operators.
  • In 2009, we began our 1-day TRAPS training (TRansit Assault Prevention Strategy) program.
  • In 2017, TRAPS was replaced with the 2-day TRIP (TRansit In-Service Program), which covered assault prevention practiced in addition to other topics, including mental health awareness, effective communications, and dealing with difficult or dangerous situations.
  • Most recently, in December 2021, we launched our TRIP 2 training program, which reviews the content of the previous TRIP program and introduces new modules, including the CUTA Managing Stress module.
  • To allow for expanded training, Transit added four FTE positions to its training branch in 2018.

Safety Shields:

  • We have recently outfitted buses with two models of potential shield extensions for the purpose of demonstration, which we are currently seeking feedback from Operators on via a survey.
  • Initially, Transit tested three models of shields between 2009 and 2012, when it was revealed in a survey ATU conducted of its membership that most Operators were not in favour of the barriers for reasons that included reduced air flow, increased glare, and restricted ability to interact with customers.
  • In 2017, a pilot project was launched that allowed 700 Operators to test shields using two different designs, one of which was selected for fleet-wide installation.
  • The pilot project was the result of a new committee that included Operators, the ATU, maintenance staff, and Transit leadership, who recommended the successful shield design after reviewing feedback from all stakeholders.
  • In 2020, Transit completed the installation of these shields on all buses.

Audio/Video Surveillance:

  • Initially introduced on all buses in 2008 to provide increased safety, detect and deter criminal activity, and assist with investigations. Decals were installed to advise passengers A/V equipment was in use.
  • An expansion of the on-board audio/video surveillance system to cover the left front interior/exterior and left side exterior of the vehicle was approved in the 2017 Capital Budget. This expansion led to an increase in the successful identification of assailants.
  • In 2018, we investigated the opportunities for using Wi-Fi technology on buses to enhance safety and began the fleet-wide installation of LTE modems.
  • In 2021, we launched a pilot project (which is ongoing) involving 50 buses that will allow live camera feeds to stream directly into the Control Centre in the event of an emergency.
  • In December 2021, we equipped all buses in the fleet with a new emergency signal that, when activated, alerts the public, as well as the Transit Control Centre. When in use, digital signage on the exterior of buses reads “Emergency Call 911” and “Do Not Board Bus.”

Inspector Initiatives:

  • The hiring of more Transit Inspectors (9 FTE positions added in 2018).
  • Providing Inspectors with protective body armour vests (2019).
  • Providing training focused on de-escalation and how to recognize and address citizens under the influence of methamphetamine.
  • Installing Inspector stations at strategic locations in the city to assist with incidents that arise for Operators and passengers on buses (2019).
  • Inspectors also provide assistance to customers and Operators at bus stops on an ad hoc basis. For example, when fare increases are introduced or at large events.
  • Previous Inspector initiatives include launching the Bus Patrol in 2012, which sees Inspectors riding buses to increase visibility and provide assistance and information to Operators and passengers.

Other Initiatives:

  • In 2017, we created the Transit Advisory Committee.
  • In 2012, Inspector uniforms were enhanced to provide increased visibility and assistance to Operators and members of the public.
  • In 2017, Transit completed a transition to new uniforms for Operators. The new uniforms had been trialed prior to the transition, with Operators reporting that they were treated more respectfully by members of the public when wearing the new uniform items.
  • In 2008, Transit introduced on-board next stop announcements, allowing customers to know their locations at all times and resulting in enhanced safety.
  • In 2009, Transit adopted the newly expanded Criminal Code of Canada definition of assault in dealing internally with assaults on Operators.
  • In 2012, in preparation for the installation of new fareboxes, a “Pay Double Next Time” policy was developed. This policy was designed to reduce conflict with the Operator when there is an under payment of fares.
  • In 2013, electronic fareboxes were installed on all buses. They eliminated the need for Operators to calculate monies being deposited and provided an audible sound to customers identifying that an incorrect fare had been paid, reducing Operator interaction over fare payment.
  • In 2016, fare payment using peggo was introduced. This reduced the need for Operators to inspect paper passes. It also provided an audible sound to customers if an incorrect fare had been paid, further reducing Operator interaction over fare payment.
  • In 2016, Council worked with the Winnipeg Police Board to encourage Cadets and uniformed Officers to ride buses, as duty permits, as part of their “Downtown Safety Strategy."
  • Also in 2016, a Code of Conduct was developed (using the Public Transit By-Laws) and posted on all buses and the Transit website to educate the public on expected behavior. Transit adopted the CUTA advertising campaign Assaulting a Bus Driver Could Make This Your Next Stop, and decals were installed on all buses noting that threats or assaults against Bus Operators will not be tolerated and may result in criminal prosecution.
  • Additionally, a capital project valued at $17.3M for the replacement of all existing bus radio hardware and related equipment/technology was approved in 2022 by the Federal Government as part of Transit’s ICIP application.