A union that represents almost 12,000 transit workers is calling for better driver protection after they say a TTC driver was attacked by four people who were asked to wear masks on the bus.

The union also alleges that the TTC forced the "assaulted and injured" driver to wait for a bus instead of driving her back to her division.

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"It's insulting that the TTC expects our members to drive packed buses, yet it can't drive an operator who has just been assaulted back to their division due to COVID-19-related concerns," said Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113 President Carlos Santos in a statement on Monday.

"The disturbing rise in assaults against transit workers throughout the pandemic is absolutely unacceptable and outrageous," Santos said. "The TTC can better protect workers by reimplementing rear-door boarding on buses, blocking the two seats behind bus operators, stopping cash payments and cease issuing paper transfers to bus riders immediately."

Stuart Green, a spokesperson for the TTC, called the assault "absolutely deplorable" and explained that COVID-19 restrictions meant they couldn't carpool the transit operator back to the division and instead had to order an out-of-service bus to transport her instead.