“More than anything, employees should not have to fear being reprimanded if they make a safety report. This puts everyone in danger-- from the operators to the riders to the tax-paying public-- to discourage someone from making a safety report because they could lose their livelihood,” said train operator Niya Banks.
Station manager Cynthia Gary became emotional as she shared, “I have serious concerns for my safety when I confront someone that doesn't want to pay their fare. I've been cussed out, threatened and had weapons pulled on me just trying to do my job.”
While listening to the information, Requa said, “We have to find ways to give you back information that we have as a result of a safety violation or recommendation that a person made. We need to get back to the front line employees to let them know that an action is being taken or will be taken.”
Metro riders sounded off, as well, sharing their concerns of reliability in the system, as well as their feeling that they are not being heard by WMATA management. The rider’s panel consisted of Sheila Holmes of the Blake High School PTA, Coleson Breen and David Alpert, the founder of Greater Greater Washington internet blog.
Also participating in the hearing were Jack Clark of the Transportation Learning Center, and labor union leaders Gino Renne, president of UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, Herbert Harris Chairman of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), James Madaras, Safety officer of ATU Local 689, and Jeff Rosenberg, the Director of Government Affairs for ATU International.
The following day, Jeter presented the takeaways from the hearing to the WMATA board at their board meeting and will be giving a detailed presentation to the WMATA safety committee on April 23, with details coming soon.