Students concerned about TTC security after woman pushed onto tracks

Apr 21, 2022 | News

By Daniel Lonic and Anna Beatriz De Santanna

Reaction continues after a woman was shoved onto the tracks of Bloor-Yonge subway station earlier this week, sparking a call for increased TTC precautions.

The victim, identified as Shamsa Al Balushi, 39, barely escaped on Sunday by seeking shelter in the space underneath the platform as the oncoming train sped by.

This came as unsettling news to one Humber College Game Programming student, “that could have been me,” said Ruben Kostas.

Kostas said he passed by Bloor-Yonge station a few hours before the incident occurred around 9:00 p.m. Sunday.

Kostas said he found it hard to stomach that someone could do such a thing and to someone they didn’t know.

Al Balushi was rushed to the hospital conscious and breathing, but in serious condition after suffering serious injuries from the fall.

It was later reported that she had a broken rib.

The video of the exact moment of the attack was shared all over the internet, showing Al Balushi standing on the subway platform before being approached by a woman and shoved into the tracks. The attacker then fled the area westbound on Bloor Street West

Edith Frayne, 45, from Toronto, has been charged with attempted murder.

“So many people rely on the subway to get to places so it’s not exactly somewhere you want to be scared of losing your life,” said Kostas.

He said his back will be pressed against the wall in future waitings for trains.

Sofiia Dmytrenko, a Humber Hotel and Restaurant Operations Management student, said this incident confirms the need for more watchful security on the TTC.

“I rarely ever see any security monitoring the rails, I think that needs to change,” she said.

Dmytrenko said she rides the subway daily and is watchful. She said the fear of being pushed onto the rails has always been at the back of her mind.

Dmytrenko also said her group of friends all previously have had numerous “shady” run-ins at subways where they wished security had been around.

Julia Brummel is one of those friends.

“If I have to go down to Toronto, I literally will not take public transit because that freaks me out so much,” said Brummel, “to be on the subway makes me have so much anxiety.”

The idea of rail safety isn’t foreign to one Humber international student who recalled how different the situation is with the subway system of Iran.

“There was always someone watching and when people are close to the line [at the end of the platform], the security guard would announce to step away from the line,” said Mohsen Golipour, HVAC technician student.

Golipour said that had this been a security method in Toronto, “this awful incident maybe wouldn’t have happened.”

One form of precaution against people falling on rails is platform edge doors (PEDs), a barrier between the rails and the platform. The doors only open once the train comes to a full stop.

TTC’s spokesperson Stuart Green told Humber News that thought has gone into implementing PED’s within stations. Though, it wouldn’t be a quick addition.

“PEDs require ATC (automatic train control) to work and would require significant redesign and infrastructure changes to install them on existing platforms,” said Green in an email statement.

As for Al Balushi, Green said “thankfully the victim, in this case, knew to roll under the lip of the platform to seek shelter from the passing train.”

Just a few days after the attack at Yonge and Bloor, there was another scary incident on the TTC.

On Tuesday night a man was rushed to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening condition after being stabbed at the St. George subway station.

The 30-year-old victim was stabbed in the neck while talking to someone on the platform.

Police said the suspect is a white male in his 20s, has short blond hair, a goatee and a neck tattoo.