Saskatoon bus drivers are remembering a Winnipeg operator who was attacked and killed last week.
The funeral for 58-year-old driver Irvine Fraser was held in the Manitoba capital Tuesday.
Fraser was fatally stabbed after police said he tried to get a lone passenger to leave the bus. The alleged attack happened at the end of Fraser’s route in the early morning hours of Feb. 14.
“(The incident) has had a severe impact on some of our members,” said ATU Local 615 President Jim Yakubowski, who travelled to Manitoba for the funeral.
“It’s re-opened a conversation when it comes to our safety.”
On Tuesday, Saskatoon Transit buses displayed the message “Lest We Forget” on their electronic message boards.
The action was suggested by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 branch, and the message was approved by Saskatoon Transit.
Brian Kyle Thomas, 22, of Winnipeg is facing charges including second-degree murder, possession of a weapon and failing to comply with a probation order.
Winnipeg police said another bus had stopped behind Fraser’s, but because most buses don’t have rear windows, the driver couldn’t see what was happening inside Fraser’s bus. When the confrontation spilled outside, the driver called for help.
Fraser’s death marks the first time a Winnipeg bus driver has been killed during an assault and not in a traffic accident.
Some ruffled by Remembrance Day nod
Some text messages into Gormley on 650 CKOM Tuesaday took issue with the specific messaging on the buses, saying the phrase “Lest We Forget” should be reserved for Remembrance Day.
“‘Lest We Forget’ is for the remembrance of those who fought for our freedoms in war,” said Nate from Regina.
Several commenters suggested Regina’s move to tie black ribbons to their bus mirrors was more appropriate.
—With files from The Canadian Press.