Spat On Bus Drivers Take 2 Months Paid Leave

B68 turning around in the Mermaid Bus Loop.
B68 turning around in the Mermaid Bus Loop. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit.

The topic of overtime & sick time abuse has dominated this blog & the mindset of many in the transit community of late. Within the last 25 minutes, the New York Daily News issued a report about how bus drivers who were spat on took an average of two months paid leave. Pete Donohue has more:

MTA bus drivers who were spat on by riders last year got an average two months paid time off after the humiliating experiences, officials revealed Monday.

That’s because transit workers are entitled to get a paid break after an “assault” – which apparently includes spitting.

“We’re going to have to take a look and see what we’re going to do with that,” Joe Smith, senior vice president of buses for NYC Transit, told MTA board members at a committee meeting.

Some 51 drivers took an average 64 paid days off after suffering a saliva assault.

The jaw-dropping statistic comes as the MTA is grappling with a massive budget deficit, laying off workers and planning for fare hikes in January.

“I don’t envy anyone [who is spat upon]… but you have to wonder if you can go home and shower off, take a nap, take off the rest of the day and maybe the next day,” MTA board member Nancy Shevell said at the meeting.

“When it gets strung out for months, you start to wonder,” Shevell said.

Click here for the complete report.

Getting spit on is a disgusting & disrespectful action that should never happen to anyone. With saying that, I can’t condone drivers abusing paid leave over the incident if that is indeed what happened. However I am starting to question whether this fight over overtime and/or sick time abuse is turning into nothing but a witch hunt against transit workers.

It seems the majority of these reports focus on “abuse” & how workers are costing the MTA money. Why not focus on the amount of waste from the MTA’s side from redundant positions to overpaying for goods & services, & the like? Some fairness would be nice!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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