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Kelowna rally to stop bus driver assaults

KELOWNA–Bus drivers from across Canada banded together with Kelowna drivers to call for a stop to bus driver assaults.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Canada is holding its annual general meeting in Kelowna, and on Wednesday, members took the opportunity to rally together, in light of recent assaults against Kelowna transit workers.

On May 20, four separate attacks on Kelowna bus drivers happened in one day.

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“We want to make sure that our members are able to go to work every day and not fear that they are going to be assaulted in any way,” says Paul Thorp, ATU Canada President.

Thorp says that there is a law in place, Bill S221, that assures assaults on bus drivers will be treated the same way as assaults on first responders, and lead to harsher penalties.  He says so far, the courts have not upheld these new rules.

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Thorp says the union is also asking for panic buttons to be installed in all busses in Kelowna, as well as protective shields for drivers.

He says assaults on drivers is not just a problem for Kelowna drivers.

“Not at all,” says Thorp.  “This happens daily across Canada, in every municipality.  We have data that shows every day there’s some sort of assault, verbal or physical in municipalities as large as Toronto and as small as Port Alberni where we only have 13 drivers.

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