DNA Swab Kits Coming To The MTA

One of the perks for bus drivers in the newly agreed contract between the MTA & TWU Local 100 is that they will be receiving DNA Swab Kits to deal with the issue of spat on drivers. Michael Gartland of the New York Post has more:

The MTA is about to get a little more CSI.

City bus drivers will soon be armed with DNA swabs to gather evidence in the all-too-common event of an unhinged passenger spitting on them.

Transit workers catch a loogie 14 times a month, the MTA estimated in 2011.

The swab kits will be distributed to drivers once a new contract between the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 is finalized, union sources confirmed. They’ll include swabs, a rinse and a sealed container to store an assailant’s saliva sample.

“I’m overjoyed that the MTA finally put this into effect,” said Frank Austin, the TWU’s safety director for bus drivers. “We’ve been working on this for two contracts, about seven years.”

Swab kits have been given to drivers in Boston and England and have led to arrests there. In Boston, swabs cost $200 a pop.

After a sample is submitted, police run it against a DNA database for a match.

An MTA spokeswoman declined to comment on the cost of the program, noting the contract was not yet finalized.

But two MTA subdivisions — the MTA Bus Company and NYC Transit — operate a total of 5,701 buses, each of which would be outfitted with a swab kit. At a potential cost of $200 per kit, the overall cost to the city could reach $1.1 million.

“It’s going to cut down on people spitting on us, especially if people get arrested and it ends up in the newspaper,” said Thomas McNally, a TWU safety inspector.

Click here for the complete report.

As someone who grew up with a dad who drove a bus for NYC Transit, I have heard many stories about drivers being spat on. We can agree that this is one of the biggest ways to disrespect someone.

I completely support this measure as any lowlife who spits on a driver deserves to be caught & punished to the fullest extent of the law.

To those who might say it is a waste, think about how you would feel being spat on. Plus considering the amount of the money the agency spends on things, this is a drop in the bucket.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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