The TTC revealed this morning that they will be revamping their initiatives to decrease the amount of transit-related suicides after an alarming rise in suicide attempts on the TTC last year. The sudden shift has the TTC looking at other solutions after officials believed for years that installing costly barriers was their only option.
“With our analysis, it’s on a five-year trend, and we’ve had a significant, statistically significant, upward trend,” stated Christine Triggs to The Globe. Triggs is a safety specialist who works for Toronto’s transit system. “So that’s why we’re trying to reboot some of our initiatives to see, is there something else we can do?”
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How the TTC plans to confront these pressing issues is still up in the air. A range of options has been considered, which include everything from installing soothing blue lights and artwork to help make the station feel less jarring to physical barriers that would prevent jumpers from falling onto track level.
Toronto’s transit system has a long history with suicide, especially when it comes to the city’s subway tunnels. Since their opening in 1954, 1,500 people have attempted to commit suicide on their tracks.
According to TTC Spokesman Brad Ross, there was a total of 26 attempts to commit suicide on the tracks in 2018 - a subtle but clear rise from the 17 incidents the year before.
Last year, 19 people died by suicide on the TTC and another 26 attempted to end their life. To date in 2018, 31 people people have either died by suicide or attempted to die by suicide on the TTC. There is help and hope: https://t.co/4BvMrRrGjH #WorldSuicidePreventionDay— Brad Ross (@bradrossTO) September 10, 2018
Those within the TTC believe that the sudden rise in attempts is a call to action. “The time is right,” explained TTC chief safety officer John O’Grady according to the Globe. “We’ve got a new CEO, we’ve got a new [governance] commission … we’ve got stats showing just how impactful this is on our employees and our operations. It’s time."
If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or Crisis Service Canada at 1-833-456-4566.