The number of hate attacks on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has increased at an alarming rate since the end of 2022. In December 2022, there were 145 incidents, 45% more than in November 2022. Since December, hate incidents on the TTC have increased. Within 9 days of January 2023, 11 hate incidents were reported to have taken place on the TTC. Rick Leary, the CEO of TTC, stated in January 2023, “We recognize there are many complex issues facing the TTC and the City of Toronto. We are pleased to participate in these ongoing discussions.”
Almost every day from January 18 until January 26, 2023, TTC hate crimes were reported. Hate-motivated assaults at Bloor-Yonge Station, a man reportedly attempted to push the victim onto tracks at Bloor-Yonge Station, a BB gun used to shoot a TTC bus driver, and sadly many more incidents.
Torontonians are extremely worried about commuting in Toronto and are resorting to possible ways of avoiding the TTC. Experts say addressing the root of the problem is more complex and critical than simply adding more police officers to the scene. The disproportionate impact of policing on Black, Indigenous, and racialized people has also been discussed, along with the need for increased police presence on public transit.
On January 26, 2023, Toronto police announced that they would increase their presence on the TTC “effective immediately” to have around 80 officers on TTC platforms at all times. Several off-duty officers will be required to work overtime to accomplish this. Mayor John Tory and TTC CEO Rick Leary emphasized the city’s budget plan, which includes hiring 25 new officers and filling 25 special constable vacancies
On February 11, 2023, the Toronto Star conducted a survey to determine whether TTC riders felt safe. Approximately 40% of TTC users feel that the system is “pretty unsafe” or “very unsafe.”
Toronto police announced on March 13, 2023, they would no longer have an increased presence on the TTC. The plan was costing police an estimated $1.7 million per month and could only be covered through the winter.
On March 26, 2023, 12 days after this announcement, a 16-year-old boy, Gabriel Magalhaes, was stabbed at the Keele subway station in an unprovoked, random attack, according to police. In less than a year, the TTC has been involved in four homicides on or near its property.
It is important to ask what the Toronto police will do to keep Torontonians safe.
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