Pam Janjua, a 12-year veteran bus driver with GO Transit, was completing her final safety checks and pulling into the platform on July 31 when she noticed a disturbance nearby.
“It looked like someone was being chased,” she said. “I didn’t think anything of it as it looked like they had run off, but in reality they were hidden behind my bus.”
Not realizing what was happening, Janjua started to board passengers when a man suddenly reappeared, rushed onto the bus and made his way towards the back. As he was passing Janjua,who was collecting tickets and fares at the front, she noticed the individual was holding a knife.
“It happened so quickly but when I noticed they had a knife my first thoughts were about the safety of my passengers,” Janjua recalled. “Luckily, only one other person had boarded by then, so I was able to quickly get that person off and prevent others from boarding.”
With the passengers off, Janjua tried to calm her nerves and immediately radioed her supervisor to report what was happening. They needed to contact the police and transit safety for help right away. At the same time, she knew the man at the back of the bus could hear what she was saying.
Once she knew help was on the way, Janjua did her best to keep the passengers calm and prevented others from boarding.
“Passengers kept trying to board the bus,” Janjua said. “I was trying to get them to stay off without letting them know what was happening. I was worried that if they knew someone had a knife they might panic and cause the suspect to get even more agitated.”
Police arrived soon after and they were able to subdue the man, who had hidden the knife by that point. He was taken off the bus, handcuffed and taken into custody.
Her supervisor, Stephen Blair, was impressed with Janjua’s actions. “Pam did an outstanding job when confronting an unusual situation,” he said. “Pam showed great poise to ensure her passengers safety and we’d like to commend that.”
“The entire time, I was always focused on ensuring passengers weren’t in danger and remained calm,” Janjua said. “The police and safety officers arrived quickly and were able to arrest the suspect with no one being injured.”
The man who boarded Janjua’s bus has been charged with possession of a weapon and is now making his way through the judicial process.