LTC driver detours to aid harassed woman

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A London woman wants to thank an unknown city transit driver for saving her from harassment by going above and beyond.

Amanda Summers said she was at a bus stop at Richmond Street and Dundas Street late the night of Aug. 14.

“I’ve travelled alone . . . plenty of times. I didn’t think that night would be any different,” she said.

Summers said she missed her bus, scheduled to pass the stop at 11:05 p.m., and was waiting for the next to come at 12 a.m.

At the bus stop she talked with others about where they were heading.

Soon, all of the others, except one man, had left, she said.

Summers said the man became insistently talkative and wouldn’t leave her alone.

“The guy just kept getting closer and closer and closer, and then he was uncomfortably close, and he reeked of alcohol,” she said.

She said he made sexual comments to her and eventually she saw he had a hand down his pants.

“He kept trying to touch my hair and stroke my face. I was so scared,” she said.

She said that after what she thought was half an hour of waiting at the stop, another bus arrived. Summers said she jumped aboard to escape the man, who followed her onto the bus.

She said the man asked the London Transit driver if the bus they’d boarded was going to cross routes with the bus Summers had mentioned to the group that she was waiting for. She said the driver convinced the man the routes don’t intersect and convinced him to get off the bus.

“He made me feel really safe,” Summers said.

She said the driver even drove off-route to take her home.

“He waited outside for me to make sure I got inside and was safe,” Summers said.

Transecure, as implemented by LTC in 1993, is the company’s customer safety program.

“One of the elements of (our program) is using the bus as a safe haven. If you’re experiencing difficulty, flag down a bus and ask the operator for help,” Kelly Paleczny, the London Transit Commission’s general manager, said.

“We also have courtesy stops, which provide the opportunity for operators to stop somewhere that’s not a regular bus stop to get someone closer to their destination if they feel threatened.”

Paleczny said taking a rider to their doorstep goes beyond the policy.

“He didn’t have to do what he did. I think it’s absolutely amazing and he deserves so much more than just a thank you,” Summers said.

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