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The ATU Calls on Transit Agencies, Private Transit Companies, Motorcoach carriers to Develop Emergency Preparedness Plans in the Wake of San Jose Mass Shooting

Silver Spring, MD – The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is calling on transit agencies, private transit companies, and motorcoach carriers in the U.S. and Canada to implement emergency preparedness plans after the tragic mass shooting in San Jose, California, that took the lives of our Local 265-San Jose, CA, brothers.

In its open letters addressed to transit agencies and providers, private transit companies, and motorcoach carriers across North America, the ATU stressed the importance of preparing transit workers for emergency situations. “The tragic May 26, 2021, mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California, demonstrates the urgent need for the industry to develop emergency action plans to ensure that transit workers are able to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the riding public when emergencies strike,” said the letter signed by ATU International President John Costa to U.S. transit agencies and the letter co-signed by Costa and ATU Canada President John Di Nino to Canada transit agencies.  

Unfortunately, the mass shooting in San Jose was not a unique tragedy. On April 6, 1999, a mass shooting occurred at OC Transpo in Ottawa, ON, leaving four dead and one injured. More recently, on February 3, 2020, a gunman killed one passenger and injured five others on a Greyhound Lines bus north of Los Angeles, CA.

Mass shootings are also not the only concern. “Our transit systems will continue to experience mass shootings, along with other acts of violence, civil disruptions, power outages, fires, and natural disasters,” the letters said. “We will experience these emergencies acutely because transit services will continue to bring together large numbers of people. Transit workers will be expected to continue operations as emergencies occur and are ongoing. The same transit workers will also have a critical role in responding to many and all kinds of emergencies.”

A survey conducted by the ATU in the wake of the San Jose mass shooting revealed that only 7% of our Local Union leaders believed that their employers had an emergency action plan covering an active shooter situation.

The ATU calls on all transit agencies and providers to develop emergency preparedness programs that address the full scope of emergencies, including active shooter situations. Such programs must involve developing emergency action plans, training of transit workers, periodic refreshers, and drills to ensure that workers can execute those plans under challenging circumstances.

“We must ensure, as an industry, that we are prepared for future emergencies. We look forward to the industry’s renewed focus on emergency preparedness for the sake of transit personnel, our passengers, and the communities we serve,” the letters concluded.