Metro Transit to Install Protective Barriers in Buses
Brooklyn Center’s Metro Transit Center is one of the busiest boarding locations in the Metro Transit system. It connects passengers to 15 different routes.
“Transit is just such a good option to get people from A to B,” said Howie Padilla, spokesperson for Metro Transit.
Padilla says that in 2018, Metro Transit gave out more than 80 million rides. But during three of those rides, assaults on bus drivers occurred.
“I want to be very clear. One assault on any of our operators is one too many,” Padilla said.
To help prevent more assaults, Metro Transit plans to install protective barriers near the driver’s seat on half of its 900 buses.
‘I Love the Shields’
Marshall Freeman has driven Metro Transit buses for 25 years.
“It’s my office for the day,” Freeman said. “Instead of being behind a desk, I’m out in the crowd.”
Thursday morning, Freeman demonstrated to CCX News how the new barriers work.
“When it’s fully open like this, it’s just got a magnet on the back side here that it holds. So you can actually drive while it’s open,” Freeman said.
But if Freeman wanted the barrier closed, all he has to do is sit in his seat and pull the barrier back.
“Get all nice and comfy, click it shut, and you’re good to go,” Freeman said.
Each shield costs about $2,500.
“For me personally, I love the shields,” Freeman said. “Gives me a nice little safe barrier for those clientele that are sometimes a little bit rough on us.”
Freeman says he’s never been assaulted while driving his bus, but with these barriers in place, he and his colleagues will at least have another layer of protection.
“I’m not sure that there’s any way in the world that we can guarantee nothing is ever going to happen that will adversely affect our operators,” Padilla said. “We would love that. That’s the way we want the world to be. What we can say is we’re taking steps to mitigate the chances of that.”
Installation of the protective barriers will begin next month.