Union calls for action after female bus driver fights off ‘hijacker’ in Mississauga

The union representing transit workers in Mississauga is demanding better safety protocols after a female bus driver had to fight off a man who allegedly tried to take control of a MiWay bus in Mississauga.

The incident happened in the overnight hours Tuesday. Peel Regional Police responded to a call near Burnhamthorpe Road West and Erindale Station Road at around 12:30 am about a man who allegedly approached a driver and started to damage their vehicle.

That same man, police said, then boarded a MiWay bus and tried to take control of it.

“While the attempted hijacker wrestled with the female operator to take control of the bus, the operator fought him off and was able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop,” ATU Local 1572 said in a news release Wednesday.

The city confirmed the incident and said that when a transit supervisor arrived at the scene, the suspect left the bus and stole their vehicle.

“This is just another reminder of the dangers our transit professionals face daily in the line of duty,” ATU Local 1572 President Jack Jackson said in the union’s release.

“The City of Mississauga needs to take all acts of aggression more seriously, as they are clear precursors to more serious events that may follow. Events like we just witnessed. Proper front-line support and better response times are just a start to protect our members.”

Police managed to track down the suspect using a GPS tracker in the supervisor’s car. He was taken into custody a short time later and is facing several charges.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

However the union said it is just the latest example in a growing list of violent incidents involving transit workers.

“The increasing number of Operator assaults and violence we face reinforces our call for immediate action with better protection for the riding public and our Operators,” ATU Canada President John Di Nino said in a statement. “As the transit operator processes this traumatic event, we will offer support and assistance for a speedy recovery.”

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