TWU officials and MTA employees went before the City Council yesterday to highlight threats to their personal safety. As both The Daily News and amNew York recount, the numbers are incomplete — police reports 96 felonies up from 82 last year while the union claims 170 reported attacks up from 134 last year — but union brass want the MTA and NYPD to do more to protect bus drivers and subway personnel. “If there were two sanitation workers, or police officers or City Council members being assaulted every week in New York City, they’d call in the National Guard to stop those assaults from happening.” Samuelsen said.
At the hearings yesterday, politicians tried to find a potential scapegoat. TWU officials pinpointed rider frustration over service cuts and general “economic hopelessness” as reasons for the increase but also warned of a general laissez faire attitude toward these attacks. Despite warnings that assaults on MTA employees carry a possible seven-year prison sentence, the MTA and NYPD are not proactive in protecting employees. A bus driver partition program is slowly coming to high-crime bus routes, but beyond that, police presence has remained stagnant.
To combat this problem, the MTA and NYPD have to strike a balance between proper enforcement and targeted patrol. While the increase of nearly 20 percent is shocking, 96 reported assaults out of a few billion total riders is a shocking low number and one hard to decrease. Is this ultimately a hazard of the job or one which deserves more attention and resources? After all, as James Vacca, head of the Council’s transit committee, said, “These people are not just a threat to drivers. They’re a threat to people like myself who are on the train and depend on transit every day.”
A simple solution; issue a policy statement that transit workers can fight back without losing their jobs and pensions. As it stands now a transit worker just has to take it and wait for the police.
A lot of these guys draw the ire of passengers by being rude themselves, closing doors on people, refusing to open rear doors, etc.
These guys act like victims, but if they had a customer service oriented attitude, they might not find themselves in such a precarious position.
The claim that if this happened to NYPD or Sanitation workers, there would be more attention paid is case in point – they are appreciated workers because they have the right attitude and are more appreciated.
TWU might pay more attention
“Closing doors on people”? Really?
Why should they hold up an entire train or bus and make everybody late for their work, school, or appointments because a single person is running late and thinks they have the right to rush into the closing doors? That’s not how life works!
TP, have you ever seen a bus driver close the doors in the face of an approaching rider and then pull away from the curb and sit at a red light?
Yes, they can hold the doors for an extra second or two in many cases but they choose not to
No issues with train conductors closing 30 sets of doors and getting the show on the road (there will always be someone else coming), but bus drivers, especially, do some pretty dumb things…
Nothing boils my blood more than standing in the rain staring at a bus I just missed by a couple seconds as it sits at a red light when the doors could be open and not hold up anyone
Some drivers will open the doors and let you on, but most won’t after they leave the curb