Two women from Victoria, B.C., say they are unlikely to ever visit Edmonton again after they were attacked twice while trying to take the bus in the Alberta capital.
Patty Garside and her daughter came to visit family on Sunday afternoon. They were en route to the Lewis Farms Transit Centre with her sister Heather when they were confronted by a passenger being verbally aggressive.
“All of a sudden, she just lunged for my daughter and ripped her glasses off her face, scratching her,” Garside told CTV News Edmonton.
“You expect to be safe on public transit, you shouldn’t expect violence,” said Cassandra Bosma, her daughter.
The attacker was kicked off the bus. But after arriving at the transit centre, and as they were calling police, the women say the attacker arrived on another bus and continued the assault.
“She chased us around the Lewis Farms Transit Centre. We were terrified, frightened for our safety, our lives,” Bosma said.
“I was screaming into the phone, ‘We need help now! We need it now!’ And it was just, it was terrifying,” Garside said.
The women were punched and scratched repeatedly, Garside said, before finding refuge in a nearby bus.
“We both sustained concussions, we went to the hospital later that evening to have ourselves checked out,” Garside said.
A 35-year old woman was charged with six counts of assault, causing a disturbance and breaching conditions after Edmonton Police Service said she also attacked people on the second bus.
The issue of transit safety exploded last week after a 78-year-old woman was pushed onto LRT tracks Monday night in what police called a “violent unprovoked assault.”
On Thursday, a local man told CTV News Edmonton that he was bear sprayed twice, had a gun waved at him and was attacked with a knife while working security for Edmonton Transit Service.
The mayor and transit officials have promised more security measures, including additional peace officers and social workers.
“We care, we are listening, and know that additional support is needed,” said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald with ETS. “If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911 for assistance.”
The women did just that, but when they needed help, they felt they were on their own.
“There’s transit security, but once you’ve been touched, they’re not gonna help you. You have to call 911 and you have to be prepared to fight for yourself, or you might not make it,” said Garside’s sister, Heather.
“What can we do? I don’t have a solution, but it’s definitely a broken system,” Garside said.
With files from CTV News Edmonton Jeremy Thompson
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