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Mar 15

This Transit Driver Appreciation Day, Drivers Demand Fix for Major Bus Safety Issues

Transit Union says buses are decades behind in safety standards, endangering bus operators, riders, motorists & pedestrians

Silver Spring, MD – While it’s Transit Driver Appreciation Day you can’t blame your bus driver for being angry as major bus safety issues are endangering the health, safety, and lives of drivers, riders, motorists, and pedestrians.

Dangerous bus driver blind spots, knife-wielding passengers, verbal abuse, unhealthy bus exhaust fumes, and ergonomically poor seating have unfortunately become a routine part of the job for public transit drivers.

And in an unprecedented campaign, more than 145 Locals of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) - representing transit workers from Oakland, CA, to Toronto, ON, to Jacksonville, FL, to Saskatoon, SK, - have passed a resolution calling on transit agencies, bus manufacturers, and elected officials to fix bus operator workstations to end the preventable accidents, and driver injuries that plague transit systems across the U.S. and Canada. Click here for full list of ATU Local passing the resolution.

“ATU members do difficult work with professionalism each day, yet vicious attacks on transit drivers, dangerous bus driver blind spots, unsafe air quality, ergonomically poor seating, and primitive steering and controls are threatening the health and safety of bus drivers, riders and everyone else on our streets,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley.  “And transit workers are united in demanding the bus driver workstation be fixed.”

Most transit buses have unsafe, wide window pillar designs and hazardous eye-level mirrors, which create large driver blind spots that lead to tragedy when drivers don’t see pedestrians crossing in front of them.

Transit drivers and riders must also deal with unsafe air quality caused by inadequate air filters and ventilation systems that expose them to diesel fumes and infectious agents. This has led to a near doubling of COPD among transit workers. Poor bus suspension, seating, and ergonomic design cause a much higher rate of debilitating back pain and chronic health conditions for bus drivers than the rest of the population.

ATU members have also been meeting with transit agencies, bus manufacturers and elected officials to push for real changes to fix these dangerous problems.

Currently transit buses in Europe have protective barriers, unobstructed views for bus drivers, “active” ergonomic seating, proper filtering of bus compartment air quality, and other safety features.

“There are buses being used in Europe that address all these problems,” Hanley continued. “So, as we salute our members on Transit Driver Appreciation Day, we are calling on transit agencies, bus manufacturers, and elected officials to adopt these well-established solutions and make our buses safe for everyone.”

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.