MTA New York City Transit has announced their intention to launch a pilot program which would install partitions to protect bus drivers. The program comes as a result from the death of 46 year old Edwin Thomas who was killed by a fare beater who boarded his bus in Brooklyn.
William Neuman of the New York Times has more on the pilot program in this report:
New York City Transit will begin a pilot program to test partitions that would separate bus drivers from passengers, officials said on Thursday.
The test program was prompted by the death on Dec. 1 of Edwin Thomas, 46, a bus driver on the B46 route in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, who was stabbed to death after an argument with a passenger who had not paid his fare.
Police have charged a 20-year-old Brooklyn man, Horace D. Moore, with Mr. Thomas’s murder.
The partitions will be tested on buses operating out of the Flatbush Depot in Brooklyn, where Mr. Thomas worked. There are 252 buses assigned to the depot, according to Paul Fleuranges, a spokesman for the transit agency.
He said it was not yet known how many buses would get the partitions as part of the test. They need to be designed, and it was not clear when the program would begin.
Driver partitions are now being used or tested in bus systems in several major cities, including Chicago, Washington, Milwaukee and Baltimore, according to Mr. Fleuranges.
The pilot program was proposed by a committee studying bus driver safety and composed of representatives of Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the transit agency’s management.
Click here for the complete report.
I feel this is a great idea although it should not have taken death to make it a reality. Unfortunately in our society it usually takes death to create common sense change. Many people love to knock bus drivers & the job they do. They feel that a monkey could do the job because it is that easy to drive a bus. However those with intelligence understand that the job is not only hard but extremely dangerous.
Of all the jobs one could have with the MTA in terms of the service sector, bus drivers are put in the most danger since they have no protection from customers. At any moment a customer can be mere inches away from them. While most who ride buses are not looking to cause harm, their is a percentage of lowlifes who are looking to do just that. I feel that drivers deserve all the protection they can get as their focus should always be on properly doing their job & not on the potential threats within arms length.
I always worry about my fellow bus driver friends & others I do not know. Let me just say I am glad that my father has finally retired after almost 30 years on the job!
xoxo Transit Blogger