Man who was robbed, beaten outside subway station calls for more security at TTC stops

·2 min read
Christian Garcia says he was texting his mother inside Dundas subway station when a man grabbed his phone and tried to run away with it. (Submitted by Christian Garcia - image credit)
Christian Garcia says he was texting his mother inside Dundas subway station when a man grabbed his phone and tried to run away with it. (Submitted by Christian Garcia - image credit)

A Toronto man who was robbed and beaten outside a subway station late last month is calling for more security and staff at TTC stops.

"I never expected it," said Christian Garcia, who is deaf and legally blind in one eye.

Garcia said he was texting his mother inside Dundas subway station when a man grabbed his phone and tried to run away with it.

"I tried to get my phone. He punched me 20 times," he said. "It really hurt. I couldn't sleep."

Garcia's story is one of a number of violent acts at TTC stations that have advocates calling on the transit operator to take more responsibility for riders' safety.

Recent incidents include the shooting of an international student at Sherbourne station and the pushing of a woman onto the tracks at Bloor-Yonge station.

Submitted by Adam Cohoon
Submitted by Adam Cohoon

"They need more security, more officers, more cameras," Garcia said.

Transit advocacy group TTCRiders echoes the need for the organization to further prioritize safety, which includes more staff and the installation of platform edge doors so riders can't be pushed onto the tracks.

"They need to really figure out a new strategy to make things safer for everybody," said Adam Cohoon, co-chair of the group's accessibility committee.

The challenges of adding doors on platforms include not only the prohibitive cost, but would require all stations to undergo conversion to the automatic train control (ATC) system, which is currently underway on the Yonge-University line.

However, the TTC says it has a number of initiatives addressing rider safety including adding 56 special constables and installing more cameras.

"It's a large city," said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green.

"There are public safety things that can arise. That's unfortunate. It's something we are addressing."

That response is disappointing to Cohoon, who points to the  TTC's response to a $1 million lawsuit launched by the woman who was pushed onto the tracks in April.

In the statement of defence the TTC called for the proceedings to be dismissed, saying that it is not liable for any damages.

In its statement, the TTC argued the woman "failed to take reasonable steps and precautions for her own safety and protection" because she "chose to stand close to the edge of the platform," and "failed to pay due care and attention to her surroundings."

"They're letting all riders down," said Cohoon.

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