Vancouver/Fraser Valley – British Columbia’s largest transit worker union, Unifor is calling for additional transit security resources to enforce COVID-19 mask requirements.
“Insufficient transit security and police presence has put drivers in the dangerous position of dealing with passengers who refuse to comply with public health regulations that require masks onboard public busses,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The drivers are responsible for the safe operation of the vehicles to get members of the public where they need to go but not at the risk of their own health and safety.”
The British Columbia Office of the Public Health Officer has mandated that passengers must wear masks on public transit, with a $230 fine for those who refuse to comply or engage in abusive or belligerent behavior. Unifor believes that stricter enforcement of penalties are needed now in order for mask requirements to be taken seriously.
BC Transit made their own media release last week.
“The masks are there to protect everyone onboard, both passengers and drivers, but there have been instances where transit workers have faced verbal confrontation or risk of physical assault,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “This cannot be tolerated. An increased and more visible security presence would help to address the threat posed by anti-maskers who choose public transit as a venue to protest health regulations.”
Unifor represents more than 6000 members at Translink and B.C. Transit across British Columbia.