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ATU condemns fatal shooting of Baltimore bus driver as COVID-19 pandemic rages on

Calls on Congress to pass of Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act

Silver Spring, MD – In the wake of the tragic fatal shooting of a Baltimore bus driver, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is demanding better protection for bus drivers, riders and the pedestrians.

“I want to express our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of our fallen brother, Marcus Parks, as of a result of a senseless act of violence while bravely doing his job serving the public during this pandemic,” said ATU International President John Costa. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters of Local 1300 as they deal with this terrible tragedy.”

Unfortunately this brutal killing is not an isolated incident. An ATU Tampa bus operator was stabbed to death last year. Countless numbers of transit workers are assaulted in many ways every year.  With COVID many attacks have been over enforcing riders to wear masks. Others are the result of a fare dispute, but an alarming number happen just because someone wants to do violence to a bus driver.

“This tragic death comes as our members have been heroes providing critical transportation on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Costa continued. “Transit workers cannot do their job, and passengers cannot travel on public transportation in fear of being attacked and assaulted.” 

ATU has been calling for passage of the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act. This legislation would provide more protection by requiring transit agencies to create risk reduction plans, install physical barriers to protect drivers, and retrofit or replace buses with left-side blind spots. Also, it would require transit agencies to report on a wider range of incidents. The bill has been gaining momentum on Capitol Hill, with more than 100 members of Congress co-sponsoring the bill. ATU encourages all Americans to call their Member of Congress to ask them to sponsor this bill.

“ATU demands that transit agencies and government officials bring the same sense of regret that they will display in the public mourning of this tragic, unnecessary death of our brother and pass this critical legislation that will help to prevent these tragedies from happening,” Costa continued.