PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Top managers at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) met informally with bus drivers Wednesday, collecting input from them on how to make their jobs safer.
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The meeting is a direct result of last Saturday’s deadly stabbing of a HART bus driver.
“Every single day a driver is assaulted in one way or another,” said union representative April Murphy. “Not every driver was assaulted, but we have several assaults, whether it's verbal assaults, spitting, hitting, and the worst being what happened to that poor Tampa driver.”
PSTA officials are currently examining a number of options for safety improvements, including increased training for drivers.
“Is it barriers? Is it more training?” said PSTA COO James Bradford. “Is it how do we teach people to sense or recognize red flags or get out the seat? What do we need to do?”
Bus drivers we spoke to said any and all of those options would be helpful. What they want now is to get new security measures in place.
“We've been talking about this for two years when one of our drivers got 14 stitches in his eye.” Murphy says, “Nothing's been done yet. So now this we feel it's now or never.”