ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The union for Metro drivers is demanding improved safety after a driver was shot outside his bus over the weekend during an attempted robbery.
Metro says the driver was not on a bus and was standing on the sidewalk when he was shot, saying he was among the dozen shot in separate incidents over the weekend in St Louis. The union says he was still on the clock and an officer on bus would increase safety of drivers and passengers.
Reginald Howard is president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 788. He says drivers are often the targets of verbal abuse as well as physical.
“Operators get insulted, spit on,” he says.
“If drivers take any action on their own to defend themselves, protect themselves, drivers are being terminated,” says union vice president Katina Wilson.
She says each day drivers have to deal with passengers who are agitated, drunk or high and a few have overdosed on the train and bus.
“We have no protocol, we have nothing in place, the agency has given us nothing, no memorandums, anything on how drivers should be dealing with these issues,” she says.
Howard says issues include buses with blind spots and seats that cause back problems. The union has launched a union-wide call on transit agencies, elected officials and bus manufacturers to fix drivers workstations to prevent accidents and driver injuries.