CATS Considers More Security for Bus Drivers - myfoxcarolinas.com

CATS Considers More Security for Bus Drivers

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Charlotte, NC - When the economy tanked, assault on bus drivers started to increase according to Charlotte Area Transit System CEO Carolyn Flowers. She just returned from discussions in Washington, D.C. about safety measures for drivers with the Department of Transportation. "Many of the instances are generated by conflicts over fares and a lot of operators, including CATS, have had to increase their fares over this period," she explained.

New York's transit system has recently decided to install barriers on its buses to protect operators. "They put up a plastic panel between the customers and the operators, so the operator is sitting in a closed environment," Flowers explained.

About three weeks ago, a Charlotte bus driver was assaulted. "It was broad daylight, a guy just went out and started pummeling one of our operators." Flowers said CATS has been in the process of banning the man involved from using the system, but at this point the drivers have little in place to protect themselves.

Some riders said they feel the system is safe enough as it is, and they don't want to see tax dollars go toward the barriers here in Charlotte, "they just raised the rates so, they're going to raise the rates to pay for that too," argued William Ehlers, who's been riding CATS for three years. Others believe it's worth the investment to keep both riders and operators safe. "You never know who's caring a gun or knife or something, so they really could use a shield to protect them," said Rosa Smith, a CATS rider.

 Flowers said the cost of the barriers in New York have been around $2,500 dollars and here in Charlotte, there are around 320 buses. She said CATS will be talking to the manufacturers of buses and the barriers, along with risk management and the bus unions to decide if the system should move forward with a demonstration project here in the future.




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