Media Center

Jun 23

ATU Applauds Governor Cuomo for Approving 500 Additional Uniformed Police Officers to Patrol City Subways and Buses to Protect Workers

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest union representing public transit workers in the U.S., strongly supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s move to provide more police on NYC buses. ATU represents MTA workers in Staten Island and Queens.

Last month, a man boarded the Q88 bus near the Queens Center Mall and started shouting at the bus driver. He then punched the operator in the face and fled. A few months earlier, a driver on the Q5 bus between Jamaica and Rosedale was punched in the face after refusing to allow an unruly passenger a free ride. “These incidents happen daily. Our members get spit on, punched and stabbed. They’ve even had urine thrown on them,” said John A. Costa, ATU International President. “Many of these incidents occur while our members are trying to navigate massive vehicles through city streets. This of course puts everyone on the bus and on the street in grave danger.” 

Transit worker assault is a widespread problem which has led to a national public transportation safety crisis. Just last month, an ATU member in Tampa was murdered behind the wheel of a moving bus. ATU is pushing legislation in Congress, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act (HR. 1139/S. 436), that would simply require transit systems to determine if they have an issue with assaults and work with their front line employees and unions to come up with solutions to make the attacks stop. The bipartisan bill currently has 148 cosponsors, but only 17 of New York’s 27-Member Congressional delegation are on board.

“Can you think of any other workplace in America where this type of danger is tolerated? NOT ONE MORE transit worker should have to deal with this madness!” Costa continued. “Members of Congress from New York should follow Governor Cuomo’s lead and do something to protect transit workers and riders. The Governor’s action will save lives. We thank him for providing the resources necessary to enhance public safety.”