A hefty reward to better protect transit employeesBy
Over the past few years, some high-profile incidents aboard city buses has led to an increased attention on Transit worker safety. Oftentimes, these rank-and-file employees bear the brunt of rider frustrations, and assaults have remained a problem and concern. In fact, assaults are up by nearly 20 percent this year, and earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Transit Watch, an MTA-funded program that will reward anyone with information of such an assault with $2000.
“Thousands of men and women work on the front lines of the MTA system every day to make sure millions of people can get to work safely,” Governor Cuomo said. “We need to ensure they stay safe as well. Transit Watch puts criminals on notice that if they assault a bus, subway or train employee, everyone who sees it happen is going to help put them in jail.”
Union leaders immediately praised the move. “This is a big win for transit workers, who face physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats every day on the job, and who have long felt that transit assaults are given a low priority,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said in a statement. “We very much appreciate Governor Cuomo’s immediate action to turn a good idea into reality virtually overnight.” The MTA, which is working on a plan to install safety partitions and security cameras in buses across the city, will begin promoting the new reward program soon.