New Bus Driver Safety Partition Debuts

New bus driver safety partition
Newly installed bus driver safety partition in action on the B46. Photo courtesy of Ward for the New York Daily News.

Almost 13 months after the tragic murder of MTA New York City Transit bus driver Edwin Thomas, a new safety partition, that might have prevented his murder, debuts. Lets first take a look at the report talking about its debut by Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News:

The bus guard has arrived.

An NYC Transit bus outfitted with an L-shaped partition shielding the driver from potential harm is operating on the B46 line in Brooklyn – the same route where a driver was fatally stabbed by a farebeater a year ago.

The agency has ordered 100 of the see-through barriers – created with input from drivers and Transport Workers Union Local 100 – for an expanded pilot test.

“It gives us peace of mind, I guess,” NYC Transit driver Wayne Roberts, 40, said while driving behind the bus guard Thursday afternoon.

Roberts, though, lacked total confidence in the partition because it doesn’t completely seal off the driver.

There’s an open space extending from the farebox to the windshield, which allows the driver to access the fare-collecting unit. An irate passenger hell-bent on harming a driver may not be deterred.

Still, drivers agreed, it’s a significant upgrade. There were 313 physical assaults on drivers through mid-November this year, according to union officials, and drivers say it’s not uncommon for riders to spit on them.

Click here for the complete report.

Now lets take a look at a few details about the partition courtesy of MTA NYC Transit’s V.P. of Corporate Communications Paul J. Fleuranges by starting with an alternate photo:

Newly installed Bus Driver Saftey Partition

The partition is made of plexiglass with non glare coating. Doesn’t fully enclose the driver; open at very top and forward of driver compartment.
The glass is one half inch thick.

We are ordering a total of 100 for RTS buses and working on other bus models.

It’s difficult to come up with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to this simply because our Bus Operators aren’t one size. Each has to position the wheel, seat, mirrors to their preference, same is true for something like a partition. They all have to be comfortable with the environment the partition creates as they drive. Our overriding goal here is to provide both a safe and comfortable environment for.

I am glad to see these partitions are starting to see the light of day. It is unfortunate that it took a death of a dedicated employee to implement such a common sense safety measure. However this is how it always seems to work in life which is a shame. Hopefully such devices as this will deter people from any attempts at hurting a bus driver.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[…] that they would be testing bus driver protection partitions. Unfortunately the partitions did not debut until January 2010 & has yet to move past the initial test […]

Do you have a policy making it mandatory to use the safety partitions for all drivers?

I would suggest reaching out to the MTA directly with your inquiry.

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