Highlights of the symposium included Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik noting that two-thirds of assaults occur after an operator quotes the fare to a customer. Deputy Chief of Metro Police also shared that it is not the job of an operator to compel compliance to those who evade fares on buses and trains.
While discussing ways to curb assaults, the issue of bus shields was discussed. ATU Local 689 President shared that, while the union supports bus shields on buses, if they are going to be mandatory, they must be of better quality. Two Metro workers, Bus Operator Antoine Langley and Station Manager Martin Van Buren also gave personal stories of being assaulted while on the job.
Other presenters at the symposium included Isiah Bryant, the President of Teamsters Local 922, Brian Sherlock, Safety Specialist at ATU International, Wendy Pohihaus, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Regina Sullivan of WMATA Government Relations, Steve Vidal, the Vice President of Safety Training and Transportation for the New York City Transit Authority, and Robert Potts, Assistant General Manager for Bus Services.
Local 689 believes that if community, management, and workers come together to address this issue, the lives of both transit workers and riders can be protected. It is this shared danger that Local 689 members along with management hope to reduce to make the Metro system a better and safer one for all.