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More than 70 per cent of Ontarians feel less safe on transit than a year ago, survey suggests

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About 71 per cent of Ontarians feel less or somewhat less safe using public transportation than they did a year ago, a new survey suggests.

The findings were released in a Nanos survey, commissioned by CTV News, on Friday amid a rash of seemingly random violent incidents on or near transit in Toronto.

According to the survey, Ontarians are most likely to report feeling less safe on public transit compared to other provinces and regions.

About 66 per cent of respondents from Ontario also indicated they were more or somewhat more cautious of their surroundings when out in an urban setting as a result of recent incidents.

Earlier this week, the City of Toronto said it would be temporarily deploying 50 security guards to TTC property, in addition to hiring 20 community safety ambassadors, in an effort to prioritize safety on the system.

This is in addition to a budget increase for the Toronto Police Service that would see 50 special constables hired. This includes 25 new positions and previously vacant spots.

Despite these promised measures, the majority of Ontarians—and Canadians—appear to remain concerned about safety, the survey suggests.

The newly released survey suggests about six in 10 Canadians who use public transit feel less safe or somewhat less safe while commuting compared to a year ago.

About 65 per cent of female respondents said they felt less or somewhat less safe on public transit compared to about 50 per cent of male respondents, the survey found.

In the last two weeks, there have been multiple stabbings, one assault and an attempted robbery on TTC vehicles. Employees have also been the victim of random violence. One employee was assaulted in a “swarming style attack,” while another was shot with a BB gun pellet.

In a separate incident a group of workers were chased through a subway station by someone with a syringe.

The union representing transit workers in Toronto has said violence on the TTC has reached “crisis levels” and has publicly called for the creation of a national transit safety task force.

"These attacks, not only at the (Toronto Transit Commission) but right across the country, are really at a crisis level," Amalgamated Transit Union Canada President John Di Nino told The Canadian Press over the weekend.

"We can ill afford to keep saying 'our thoughts and prayers' and 'our best wishes go' and 'this is a one-off.' That time has passed.”

The Nanos survey, which was conducted both online and over the phone between Jan. 27 and Jan. 30, received 1,054 responses from Canadians over the age of 18. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from the Canadian Press

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