Beginning this week, new safety measures are taking effect on public transit in Toronto. It comes on the heels of a joint announcement between the TTC, the city, and police.
The new measures are meant to address a surge in violence plaguing the transportation network.
Speaking with Global News on Tuesday, Alexandra Fiallos shared her experience of using the transit system over the weekend. Fiallos, who is from Ottawa, has also lived in Los Angeles and says she frequently took public transit there.
She says she’s reliant on the TTC because she simply can’t afford the costs associated with owning her own vehicle and using ride-share to get around.
Fiallos told Global News she was on her way to work this past Saturday when a man boarded her train.
“He seemed quite harmless, asking people to wish him a happy birthday. I think I was looking down, taking a bite of my sandwich, and I looked up and suddenly he was in front of me and I was physically corned to my seat,” she said.
By the time she looked for help, Fiallos says no one was around. Now alone and in close proximity to the man, she said she felt as though she had to engage in polite conversation.
According to Fiallos, that’s when things began to escalate – the stranger began to encroach on her personal space.
“He felt that he could start trying to touch me in inappropriate places,” she recounted. “I had to have this weird balance of pulling away and being assertive, of ‘please don’t touch me there,’ but also not too aggressive that he could get aggressive back.”
She shared her encounter on social media, in part to generate awareness about the power of community and standing together in the face of potential danger. So far, she says the reaction has largely been supportive.
Beginning this week, the TTC will have access to more than 20 Community Safety Ambassadors who will work directly with individuals who are experiencing homelessness. According to the city, more than 50 security guards will be temporarily added across the system.
In the meantime, Fiallos says she won’t succumb to fear, saying she simply can’t afford another transit option.
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