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New TTC security buses used as barricades at Remembrance Day services

Last Updated Nov 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm EDT

A decommissioned TTC bus being used for "events support" is seen at the Queen's Park Remembrance Day ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 11, 2018. CITYNEWS/Craig Wadman

Decommissioned TTC buses are being used as barricades at Remembrance Day services in Toronto.

The newly-painted buses, a joint security initiative between the TTC and Toronto police, were brought in to protect areas where spectators will be on Sunday.

Two of the buses are stationed at Queen’s Park and one bus is in position at Old City Hall.

Spokesman Stuart Green said the TTC set aside six buses — which are about 11 or 12 years old and no longer fit for regular service — to be used at events throughout the city and for training exercises.

“Really, it’s a way to enhance public safety in a way that Toronto police have asked,” he said on Friday.

“The Toronto police will determine how best to use these buses. There are a number of different things — so, using them to block off or to secure a part event is one way they might be used.”

Police wouldn’t say what other plans they have for the buses.

“We don’t disclose the specifics of our security plans but I can tell you that we continuously monitor issues and make appropriate adjustments to our plans in order to mitigate the potential risks to public safety,” spokeswoman Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said in an email.

“This often includes an increased presence of uniformed police officers, road closures and/or traffic restrictions, as well as the use of other public and private sector resources.”

Green said TTC’s special constables, and not regular bus operators, will drive the vehicles as they’re trained in public safety.

In 2017 — after vehicle attacks at a Berlin Christmas market and on the London Bridge — Toronto police used TTC buses to create a safety perimeter during the Pride Parade and Canada Day festivities at Nathan Phillips Square.

The incidents also prompted Toronto Christmas Market organizers to set up concrete barriers at entrances to the Distillery District.

In the wake of the deadly van attack in Toronto on April 23, concrete barriers were set up outside Union Station and the Rogers Centre.

Related stories:

Toronto police to beef up security at Jays games, other large events

Event organizers re-evaluate security protocols in wake of van attack

Concrete barriers and police: the new norm at Distillery Christmas market