‘I thought I was going to die’: Woman wants changes to transit security after being threatened

A Manitoba woman said she feared for her life and wants to see safety improved on Winnipeg Transit after she said she was threatened on the bus on Tuesday.

Donna Guspodarchuk said she was taking the number 18 bus home after work just before 5 p.m., as she does most days.

She said the bus was busy, which caused her to shuffle further to the back. She was standing next to a man who was seated. Guspodarchuk said the man looked at her and said she was going to die.

“He goes, ‘this is going to (expletive) hurt,’ and he reaches down near his ankle, and I thought I was going to get stabbed,” she said.

Guspodarchuk said the man then stood up, threatened her again and motioned as if he was going to pull a gun out of his pants.

One man from the front of the bus yelled to leave Guspodarchuk alone. Other than that, she said not much was done during the incident.

“I thought I was going to die.”

She said the man got off the bus before her, leaving her crying and shaking about the incident.

“Something has to be done. People can’t be treated like that.”

She doesn’t blame anyone for not getting involved, and thinks more safety measures need to be in place to protect passengers.

She would like to see some kind of security personnel on transit.

“Security people could actually do something,” she said. “Bus fare is $3.15, so I paid $3.15 to be traumatized, feared for my life.”

Guspodarchuk said she wasn’t able to sleep Tuesday night and took the day off from work Wednesday because she is scared to take the bus again.

The City of Winnipeg was unable to facilitate an interview Wednesday, but in a prepared statement, a spokesperson said the city is committed to safe transit for Winnipeggers and transit employees.

“In the event of an emergency on a bus, operators are instructed to contact the Winnipeg Transit Control Centre. Operators have a direct line to the Control Centre through their bus radio system. By contacting the Control Centre, Winnipeg Transit controllers can very quickly triage the call to appropriate responders,” the spokesperson said.

They added there is also a Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) that provides guidance on new safety initiatives.

“The TAC is currently exploring strategies and options for a long-term security/safety plan for Winnipeg Transit. It is premature to discuss any potential outcomes that may result from this process.”

At the time of the interview, Guspodarchuk said a police report had not been filed.

With no report, police weren’t able to provide many details about the incident, but said in an email to CTV News that people shouldn’t intervene if it could put them in danger. They say if anyone feels unsafe on transit to call 911.

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