Media Center

Mar 18

This Transit Driver Appreciation Day ATU calls for better protection for transit workers, riders, pedestrians

Silver Spring, MD – While it’s Transit Driver Appreciation Day, transit workers are angry as major safety issues are endangering the health, safety and lives of drivers, riders, motorists, and pedestrians.

Knife-wielding passengers, dangerous preventable bus driver blind spots, verbal abuse, unhealthy bus exhaust fumes, ergonomically poor seating have unfortunately become a routine part of the job for public transit workers.

Just last week a Chicago transit worker was stabbed on a CTA platform by two passengers and a San Francisco bus driver was attacked and robbed by two riders who had not paid their fares.

To deal with these major safety problems for transit workers, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is calling for improved safety measures and passage of a U.S. bill, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act, to provide better protection for transit workers on the job and improve public safety for passengers travelling on public transit.

“ATU members in the U.S. and Canada do difficult work with professionalism each day, yet vicious attacks on our members by angry and violent riders, dangerous bus driver blind spots, unsafe air quality, ergonomically poor seating, and primitive steering and controls are threatening the health and safety of bus and rail workers, riders and everyone else on our streets,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley.  “Transit workers are united in calling for better protections including demanding the U.S. Congress pass the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act to ensure transit workers and riders will be safer, and our transit systems will operate more efficiently.”

The legislation gives transit agencies two years to develop Bus Operations Safety Risk Reduction Programs in partnership with their transit workforce, and with oversight from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The bill authorizes $25 million per year for 5 years to pay for the implementation of critical safety improvements for both workers and riders.

Transit Driver Appreciation Day was conceived in 2009 by transit riders in Seattle as a way to honor the many hard-working men and women who keep us all moving safely each and every day. More information can be found at the Transit Driver Appreciation Day website and the Transit Driver Appreciation Day Facebook page.