February 16, 2017 7:45 pm

Winnipeg Transit safety training falls short: Bus operator

Transit operator wants training improvements after driver fatally stabbed.

File / Tamara Forlanski / Global News

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg Transit operator wants better training to help her colleagues avoid potentially violent conflicts.

A bus operator who Global News has agreed not to identify said getting a passenger off the bus when they’re asleep or passed out is a dangerous situation.

“We do all that we can to disengage, to ensure that we’re not inciting anything and that we’re not escalating anything on our own, however you don’t know what you’re dealing with either,” she said.

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Irvine Fraser, 58, was stabbed to death outside the bus he was operating early Tuesday morning at the end of the route.

Police said he was attacked by a 22-year-old passenger after he repeatedly asked him to leave and eventually escorted him off the bus.

According to the city, “Winnipeg Transit operators are trained to inform passengers that they are at the end of the route and ask them to alight. If the passengers refuse or cause a disturbance, operators are trained to call the Control Centre for assistance,” read a written statement emailed to Global News.

The city also said the training program dedicates a full day to conflict resolution and assault avoidance.

However, the bus operator who spoke to Global News said that training only relates to a certain situation.

“We have no training when it comes to physical altercations outside of the driver’s seat,” she said.

This operator said she was told to get out of her seat and check on responsive passengers but other drivers Global News spoke to said they were trained to call out from behind the wheel.

The operator is calling on the city and Winnipeg Transit to improve and unify their training program.

“I’ve had cans thrown at me, I’ve had garbage thrown at me, I’ve been spit at,” said the driver.

She said walking passengers up has resulted in her being threatened and assaulted.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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