Media Center

Mar 17

This Transit Driver Appreciation Day, Drivers Work in Fear

Transit Union Calls for Better Protection against Attacks on Drivers

Silver Spring, MD – Knife-wielding passengers, blindside punches, verbal abuse, spit in the face and even gun shots have unfortunately become a routine part of the job for public transit drivers.

As we salute bus and rail operators on Transit Driver Appreciation Day, ATU calls for better protection to address the growing and rampant problem of attacks on public transit drivers.

“ATU members do difficult work with professionalism each day, yet in the United States alone, one bus driver is assaulted every three days,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley.  “Most are the result of a fare dispute, but an alarming number happen just because someone wants to commit violence against bus drivers, who are public servants that millions rely on every day.

In the past month alone, a Winnipeg, MB, bus driver was stabbed to death by a passenger, a Cleveland, OH, bus driver was shot at ten times while sitting at a stop light, and a Spokane, WA, bus driver was punched and knocked out by a passenger while training another driver.

“Transit drivers should not have to do their jobs—and passengers should not have to travel—in fear of being attacked and assaulted,” Hanley continued. “It’s long overdue for transit agencies and elected government officials to take urgent action to prevent these attacks.”

The ATU is calling for a number of solutions to deal with this disturbing problem, including driver enclosures, driver’s side escape doors and increased transit police presence on buses and subways.

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.