Decrease in negative interactions impacting Saskatoon Transit operators: report

For immediate release: March 1, 2023 - 4:45 pm

Negative interactions where an operator was directly impacted by a member of the public have decreased, shows a report being presented to City Council’s Standing Policy on Transportation on March 7. The report summarizes incidents on buses and around Transit facilities.  


Negative interactions overall impacting operators are down by approximately 50% in 2022 when compared to the years prior; however, negative interactions between transit passengers and members of the public at transit stops and terminals trend up year over year.  


The most common negative attributes associated with interactions impacting operators are verbal altercations, intoxication, and acts of aggression. The most common negative attributes associated with passenger and public interactions are intoxication and verbal altercations. That said, Mike Moellenbeck, Operations Manager for Saskatoon Transit stresses, all such incidents remain rare. 


“While we take all negative interactions and assaults impacting operators very seriously, thankfully they remain very rare. There are about two operator assault incidents for every one million rides,” says Moellenbeck. 


Aside from physical force – including a push – assault also includes spitting or throwing items. Negative interactions include assault, intoxication, aggression, fare dispute, harassing behaviour or road rage against an operator. 


“We are all aware of greater mental health concerns and social distress in communities nation-wide; Saskatoon is no different,” he says.  “Saskatoon Transit will always support its Operators and riders and look at ways to enhance training and safety protocols to create a more positive workplace and ride experience.”  


Moellenbeck adds that the Plexiglas operator safety barriers Council approved in November 2020 are being installed with about one-third of the fleet complete. The remainder is expected to be installed this spring.