TTC rider forced to break up violent fight in absence of staff and security guards
Getting stuck on a stalled subway train during rush hour has almost become a rite of passage at this point for Toronto residents, whether it's due to signal problems, blocked tracks, overcrowding, trespassers, medical calls, mechanical issues or anything else commonly cited by the TTC as a reason for stopping service.
It's easy to blame the transit commission for these frustrating delays, but a great deal of disruptions are actually caused by passengers — hence the large number of "security incident" alerts we see every day.
One regular rider told blogTO this week that she felt like "a sitting duck" inside a Line 2 train on Tuesday morning when somebody pulled an emergency alarm, and a fight spilled out onto the subway platform in front of her.
The rider, who does not wish to be named, says she was on a packed subway train with no seating available on Jan. 10 around 8:40 a.m., heading toward St. George station, when an emergency alarm was activated at Christie Station.
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green tells blogTO that whenever an emergency alarm is pulled, for any reason, the entire subway train "holds or stops and holds at the station to allow people to exit the train and to allow responders on."
In this particular case, an emergency alarm had been activated by someone aboard the subway in response to a fight.
"A confrontation spilled out from an adjacent car to in front of our car and almost entered into my subway car. There were no TTC employees or law enforcement to follow up or resolve the issue," said the passenger who contacted blogTO with video footage from the incident.
"I had to film the entire encounter for my own safety in case something would have happened to me because otherwise, we had no safe way to exit the car or to defend ourselves in a packed subway."
"Once the train was stopped at Christie station, we heard yelling coming from the adjacent car and saw two men running out. The man in blue was yelling at the top of his lungs as he was leaving the adjacent subway car, while the masked individual was chasing him down with his camera trying to film him," said the woman who filmed the incident.
"I wasn't entirely sure what the fight was about as we couldn't make out what was said, but it sounded like something happened in the adjacent car that angered the masked individual, so he decided to confront him (the man in blue) while filming him."
The clip starts here, with the man in blue standing on the platform at Christie Station, flailing his arms and screaming, "get out, go, get out of my way!"
The masked man then pushes the man in the blue Argonauts sweater with his bag and holds out his phone, as if to show him something, further aggravating his opponent to the point of violence.
In the video, we see the man in blue push the masked man toward the tracks, put up his dukes and charge. The masked man moves away, but does not leave. Rather, he continues to antagonize the man in the Argos sweater, moving back and forth in front of the train using his backpack as a shield.
"People were scared that the fight would escalate and enter into our car," said the rider who spoke to blogTO. "Also people were rushing to work so everyone was getting impatient."
And then, with frustrations rising among delayed commuters, a hero emerged from the train.
Toronto commuters say they were delayed during rush hour on Tuesday morning when a TTC subway train stopped for a fight.— blogTO (@blogTO) January 12, 2023
📹:: submitted to blogTO pic.twitter.com/wPKEQgMPPs
"Hey hey hey hey HEY HEY HEY! ENOUGH!" yells a male subway passenger as he exits the train to break up the fight.
Standing between the two feuding men, both of whom are yelling, the subway rider separates them and tells the masked man to get back on the train.
The man in blue keeps yelling at the brave hero, who assures him, "it's okay! he's going!" before turning around and telling the masked man, "it's okay! go! go! it doesn't matter! go! go!"
"Dude, just go!" someone inside the train can be heard saying as the man in the Argos sweater continues to scream profanities toward the departing masked man.
The clip ends there, but the rider who filmed the incident tells blogTO that the emergency alarm was eventually resolved and that the train resumed service.
She also says that passengers aboard the train were "a little afraid" when this all went down, as "we didn't know whether this would have escalated the situation and in light of the latest stabbings on the TTC... We didn't know if weapons would get involved."
"We were concerned the man in blue would follow him and continue the fight, but fortunately, the man in blue left shortly after and the doors closed."
The rider tells blogTO that she was concerned that zero TTC staff or Special Constables showed up after the alarm was pulled.
"We understand how this can be uncomfortable, but when the emergency alarm is activated, the train has to hold so it can be investigated," said Green when asked about the incident.
"There are many reasons an EA may be pressed. And certainly in cases where there is an emergency situation it should be pushed. If the incident resolved quickly, it's possible emergency responders didn't arrive before service resumed."
In the future, the rider who filmed the clip hopes to see more help available to people in crisis who need it on the TTC.
"With the fare increase, I hope to see more mental health resources and training added to TTC services, such as education around dealing with individuals suffering from a mental health crisis."
She also advises anyone riding public transit to "be more aware of their surroundings, and to speak to their local counsellors or MPPs on issues around transit and increasing mental health support to the public."
"Be nice to each other!" she says, asking everyone to "be more courteous of their fellow riders."
submitted to blogTO
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