Violence toward bus drivers leads to proposal for protective shields for Regina's fleet

·2 min read
The city of Regina hopes to install protective shields on 80 of its buses to protect its drivers from abuse and assaults.  (Bryan Eneas/CBC News - image credit)
The city of Regina hopes to install protective shields on 80 of its buses to protect its drivers from abuse and assaults. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News - image credit)

The City of Regina hopes to install protective Plexiglass shields on its fleet of buses following several assaults on its drivers.

According to the city, four bus drivers have been physically assaulted since March 2020.

"That's simply unacceptable," Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said on CBC's Morning Edition Thursday.

The total cost for the proposed improvements would be $2,571,177, with 40 per cent from the federal government, 33.3 per cent from the provincial government and 26.7 per cent — $656,505 — from the city. Now that city council has approved, the proposal can go on to the provincial and federal governments for approval.

Although these types of assaults have been relatively rare in Regina, a city report says there is a growing number of instances of violence toward bus operators across Canada.

Kevin Lucier, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 588, previously told CBC the upgrades are long overdue.

"It just seems to be getting a little bit more dangerous out there all the time," he said. "Every employee, every worker has the right to feel safe at work and an ability to get home at the end of their day safely."

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said the city is 'hoping that the Plexiglas shields provide that barrier from contact with the public' for bus drivers.
Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said the city is 'hoping that the Plexiglas shields provide that barrier from contact with the public' for bus drivers. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

The city said most Canadian municipalities with a population of more than 500,000 have driver shields.

Masters said the shields would be installed on 80 transit buses to "allow for the safety and well-being also from a mental health perspective for employees."

The city also plans to build spots on buses where people with mobility issues can secure themselves without driver assistance as part of the same round of improvements.

City councillors unanimously approved funding the city's portion of the project.