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Police investigate report that 10 to 15 youths attacked transit workers on TTC bus

A TTC worker wears a mask in a bus while on shift in Toronto on Thursday, April 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Police in Toronto say two transit workers have been injured following a report that close to a dozen youths attacked them on a bus Monday afternoon.

A post on the force's Twitter account says police responded to Kennedy Road and Merrian Road in the city's east end for a report that a group of 10 to 15 youths attacked three uniformed TTC employees on a bus, and then fled the area.

Police later posted that two employees were assaulted, and that their injuries weren't life-threatening.

A tweet from the TTC also said two on-duty employees were attacked in what it called a "despicable swarming/assault."

The Amalgamated Transit Union says in a statement there must be accountability.

"Our members are disgusted with the repeated and escalated acts of violence against transit workers," said Marvin Alfred, President of ATU Local 113 in a news release.

"We will always advocate for our members, but we need support from the City of Toronto and the TTC too."

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement about the incident that acts of violence and disrespect against transit workers need to end, and that he's very concerned about what he said was the "increasing number of criminal acts involving young people."

"I encourage anyone with information to help police find those responsible for this attack so they can face consequences for their behaviour," Tory said.

"I strongly believe this is something all governments have to work together to urgently address with social and mental health experts."

Police are asking anyone with information that could help with the case to contact them.

Police in the city were already investigating a shooting of a TTC bus driver with a BB gun while the driver was waiting to take over a bus on Saturday evening.

No injuries were reported and police said the male suspects, possibly teenagers, left the scene in a black sedan.

Monday's statement from the transit union says workers shouldn't have to go to work "in fear of their lives" and that the attacks have psychological effects that last after physical wounds have healed.

It says 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.

In addition to transit violence, youth violence has also become an increasing concern in Toronto. Last month, Ken Lee, 59, died after allegedly being swarmed and stabbed by a group of eight teenage girls, who are now charged with second degree-murder.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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