OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 23, 2014) - As part of the Canadian Urban Transit Association's (CUTA) Transit Awareness Days, a panel on transit operator safety met this morning during a breakfast session at the Rideau Club in Ottawa. The focus of the panel was to rally support for the Senate approval of Bill S-221, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (assaults on public transit operators).

The private member's bill targeting violence against transit operators was introduced in May 2014 by Senator Bob Runciman. The bill would require a court to consider it an aggravating circumstance for the purpose of sentencing, if the victim of an assault is a public transit operator on duty.

"Every day, transit operators across the country drive thousands of people to work, school, recreation and health care. Among their many responsibilities, operators drive a heavy-duty vehicle, often in stressful traffic and weather conditions, follow the schedule, collect fares, provide customer service, and, most importantly, ensure the safety of their passengers." says Michael Roschlau, President and CEO of CUTA. "On this last point, it is critical to understand that transit operators are solely responsible for the safety of all passengers on board their vehicle," he adds.

CUTA would like to thank John Karagiannis, Transit Operator with OC Transpo, Neil Dubord, Chief Officer of Vancouver's Transit Police and Brian Leck, General Counsel at the Toronto Transit Commission, for sharing their perspectives on the issue and support for the Bill.

"The proposed legislative change in Bill S-221 is critical for the protection of transit operators, and in turn, overall public safety by enhancing the protection of passengers and other road users," states Daniel Bergeron, CUTA Chair, as he and other transit officials from across Canada urge parliamentarians to approve this important public safety bill.

About CUTA

CUTA is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada, dedicated to being at the centre of urban mobility issues with all orders of government, and delivering the highest value to its members and the communities they serve. CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.

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Erin Brophy
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