Toronto police have made an arrest after a woman was pushed onto the subway tracks at Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge station on the weekend.
The victim, 39, survived by pressing herself against subway platform to avoid being hit by an oncoming train, but she was seriously injured in the fall on Sunday evening. She has since been released from hospital, according to police.
In a news release, police said they arrested a woman, 45, at Finch GO station on Monday at about 6:20 p.m.
She has been charged with attempted murder and is due to appear at the College Park courts on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Emergency crews were called to the Bloor-Yonge station shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday. The victim was rushed to a trauma centre, where she was listed in stable condition on Monday morning.
Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said the woman suffered “a fairly serious injury” from falling onto the tracks but managed to squeeze into a crawlspace just in time to avoid the train.
“But she had the wherewithal to crawl underneath the platform… just prior to the train arriving into the station,” he said. “So she was never struck by the train.”
In a statement on Monday morning, a spokesperson for the Toronto Transit Commission said the transit agency is “shocked by this horrific attack.”
“Our thoughts are with the victim for a quick and full recovery,” Stuart Green said.
“We will, as always, give our full cooperation to Toronto Police as they investigate this troubling incident. We are also supporting our employees who were on the incident train with counselling services.”
Police originally said in a tweet that the woman had been hit by a train, but later said that information was incorrect.
POLICE INVESTIGATION: UPDATE<br>Bloor St East + Yonge St<br>- Police are on scene investigating<br>- The woman has been transported to hospital via emergency run <br>- Suspect last seen W/B Bloor Street <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GO716995?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GO716995</a><br>^lb
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the incident a “shocking attack.”
“I am thankful the victim survived and is recovering in hospital,” Tory said in a statement Monday.
“The TTC is safe and must remain safe. And I will be following up on this incident to make sure the TTC and its partners, including the police service, is doing everything possible to protect the safety of riders and transit employees.”
Some commuters expressed shock on Monday morning, urging others to take more caution when using public transit.
“That’s pretty disgusting that somebody would go to that level to push somebody off,” Adrian Paul said. “These days, you got to be careful, you got to be aware of who’s around you.”
“That’s horrible, that thought [would] never even cross my mind,” another commuter, Froilan Carlos, another commuter, said.
Time to consider barriers, former councillor says
Former city councillor and former TTC board vice-chair Joe Mihevc told CBC News that he hopes this will “reignite the debate” on platform edge doors, which are used to separate the platform and the train tracks, providing an effective safety barrier for passengers.
With such doors, when a train arrives at the station, it stops in sync with the locations of the doors, which open alongside the train doors to allow for entry and exit.
“This was a frightening experience for TTC riders who might be thinking, ‘That could’ve been me,'” Mihevc said.
He said the debate around platform edge doors has been ongoing at Toronto city hall for 15 years, but that the technology allowing for them — automatic train control — is much more recent.
“The TTC didn’t have automatic train control, that was the biggest barrier,” he said.
Now, the Yonge-University line has that automatic control, and it’s possible to install platform edge doors at each station connected to the line. But it’s not cheap.
Mihevc estimates the costs would be $12-15 million per station. But he says the assurance of safety it would provide passengers is worth it.
“This is not the first time someone’s been pushed off the edge,” he said, also noting suicides that have occurred on the subway system.
“Having said that, this can be done gradually,” Mihevc said. “The TTC ranks health and safety as a high priority.”
He said despite its benefits and the assurance of safety platform edge doors would bring to passengers, there is “nothing imminent” in the works. Still, he says, he hopes Toronto city council will discuss the possibility.