Concerns over emergency response on transit, after passengers attacked on ETS bus
An Edmonton Transit rider is raising concerns over how emergencies are handled on transit, after he and other passengers were attacked while on the bus over the weekend in the downtown core.
Ron Kronebusch said the incident Saturday, October 14 started at a transit station in west Edmonton, when he said a woman at the stop appeared to be impaired, and was harassing others.
“The bus showed up and then she got in front of the line-up and told the bus driver not to let any of us on and so the mouthing started from the beginning,” Kronebusch said.
The woman was allowed to board, and he said the harassment continued.
Kronebusch said another passenger complained to the driver, but it appeared the driver ignored his complaints.
“The guy took a picture of her and that started it, and then she came back again and took this spray bottle, whether it was pepper spray, dog spray, whatever, and started spraying him,” Kronebusch said.
He said that same passenger asked the driver to pull over again, but he didn’t. He said the woman attacked a second time.
“So I put my hand up to protect the guy beside me, so I got sprayed on the hand and then she turned on me and plastered me in the face and all over the place,” Kronebusch said.
“It feels like you’re in a fire and your face is burning off.”
Kronebusch said he then called police – and the driver finally stopped the bus between 101 Street and 109 Street on Jasper Avenue, about 20 minutes after the spray was used for the first time.
“At least three or four people got sprayed and he did nothing,” Kronebusch said, referring to the bus driver. “It could have been a knife; it could have been a gun.”
Edmonton Police confirmed officers were called to reports of an assault with a weapon on a bus, in the area of Jasper Avenue and 111 Street that day, at about 10:25 a.m.
Police said they arrived to find two males suffering from non-life threatening injuries. Paramedics were called, and the injured individuals were treated at the scene.
EPS said a 44-year-old woman was arrested at the scene, and they found dog spray.
Edmonton Transit claimed the driver followed ETS protocol, calling ETS Control to dispatch emergency crews.
For Kronebusch, he doesn’t think the response was quick enough.
“The whole situation could have been avoided way sooner than what it was.”
With files from Nicole Weisberg