This morning, according to multiple news outlets, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metrobus that was driven by a hijacker. The hijacker also assaulted the Metrobus operator, who is currently hospitalized, to take control of the bus.
All workers have a right to be safe at work, and all riders have a right to feel safe when they board a train or bus. In 2014, more than 170 Metrobus operators reported being assaulted by a rider while on the job. In 2015, that number exponentially grew and included a horrifying incident where a station manager at Stadium-Armory Metro Station was stabbed, and another incident where a bus operator was caught in gun crossfire outside his bus in Southeast D.C. But those two incidents are two of a list that is far too long.
Last month, Local 689 launched the #TransitLivesMatter campaign to engage with the public on the multiple safety issues and concerns that we, the front-line employees of Metro, deal with daily. The list of incidents of Metro workers being spat on, slapped, stabbed, tased or shot at continues to grow longer every week, and it will only grow longer in the warm weather if Metro continues to ineffectively address this issue.
This union, representing more than 9,000 of the operators, station managers, clerks and mechanics of Metro, is calling upon Metro to take action and immediately increase police presence. The lives of transit employees and our riders are depending on it.
Local 689 is committed to standing with the community and WMATA management to make sure that any avoidable assaults never happen again, and it is the hope of this union that the leaders at Metro will stand with us.