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MTA “Talking Bus” & Smart Vision Cameras are Band-Aids for Massive Mobile Manslaughter Machines

ATU says bus mirrors & “A” pillars create huge blind spots leading to tragic pedestrian accidents


Media Contact: David Roscow, 202-537-1645 x254


Washington, DC – The MTA’s pedestrian turn warning and collision avoidance camera systems are nothing more than technological Band-Aids for the huge bus driver blind spots created by poor bus design says the Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest union representing transit workers in North America.

Roughly one pedestrian per week is killed by a transit bus in the United States. Buses have huge left hand mirrors, mounted in critical sight lines, that needlessly block the driver's vision and cause fatal pedestrian accidents. In fact, from the point of view of the bus driver, up to 13 pedestrians may be hidden behind the massive "A" pillar and left side mirror at any given time. All transit buses in service today have several enormous and unnecessary blind spots, including poorly placed fare boxes and other design defects.

“The MTA’s ‘talking bus’ is basically a speaker broadcasting a loud message to pedestrians saying ‘Run like hell, the bus driver can’t see you’. It’s masking the real problem of the huge blind spots created by poor bus design,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley. “ATU is all for new safety technology, but this is kind of like teaching Braille when you could grant drivers eyesight.”

Transit systems from coast to coast continue to order buses with the flawed design of huge mirrors and massive “A” pillars and put them on the road. Bus operators have resorted to bobbing and weaving in their seat -- the "rock and roll" method – in an attempt to see around these massive pillars and mirrors.

The cost of eliminating the blind spot is under $300 per bus while the cost of these newfangled, so-called state-of the-art safety systems the MTA is testing is far higher.

The sound alert system has been tried in numerous cities and has repeatedly failed because the messages need to be loud enough to alert distracted pedestrians in very noisy environments. Enduring the loud messages, countless times per day has also led to serious public anger. The so-called smart camera system used to identify pedestrians in the way does not alert the driver that they need to turn, stop or speed up. It’s just an alarm that lets the driver know that someone, who they often can’t see, is at risk.

“These are just expensive technological Band-Aids masking the real problem of blind spots of these massive manslaughter machines,” Hanley continued. “The solution is staring the MTA right in the face. Change the design of the buses to remove the unnecessary blind spots so we can take the blindfolds off of bus drivers and they can fulfill their mission to move America safely.”