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PSTA Among First in Nation to Install Safety Barriers on All Buses

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2019

PSTA Among First in Nation to Install Safety Barriers on All Buses

St. Petersburg, FL – The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is among the first agencies in Florida and the nation to outfit its entire fleet of 210 buses with new safety barriers to prevent drivers from attacks. Today, the PSTA board unanimously voted to approve $1.2 million in funding for the project. 

“We are standing up as leaders in the transportation industry for doing the right thing and making the priceless investment to keep both drivers and passengers in our care safe. As attacks on bus drivers continue to rise nationally, we are taking action immediately. There is no time to waste, when it comes to protecting our people from harm’s way,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said.

“Our bus drivers deserve the right to feel safe at work. These are parents, spouses, grandparents. They want to come in to do their jobs and make it home to their loved ones. Assaults will not be tolerated. We must do all that we can to put a stop to them,” PSTA Board Chair Janet Long said.

The safety upgrades come after HART bus driver Thomas Dunn was murdered on the job, stabbed by a passenger on May 18 in Tampa. Dunn’s bus did not have a safety partition between himself and the passenger to protect him from the deadly attack. 

Dunn’s murder prompted local bus drivers to call for more protection.

“We took a stand and voiced our concerns, and would like to thank our PSTA leadership for listening to us and taking immediate action to ensure that our drivers are safe and no longer have to live in fear,” said April Murphy, a retired bus driver and representative for the Service Employee International Union. 

Adding safety barriers to protect drivers is a national trend as assaults on drivers become more common. Congressional leaders introduced The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act this year. The bill would require transit agencies to add safety improvements to help reduce the number of assaults.

PSTA is one of the first agencies nationwide to install safety barriers on every single bus, according to Amalgamated Transit Union representative David Roscow. The barriers are being paid for from PSTA’s capital reserve fund, and will have extended tempered glass to shield drivers from danger. It will take four to six weeks to manufacture the barriers, and crews are expected to begin installation in August, with all PSTA buses upgraded by the end of October.

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Media Contact:
Whitney Fox, PSTA Interim Director of Communications & Marketing
O: (727) 540-1892 | C: (727) 488-8237
WFox@psta.net 

About PSTA: The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is the public transit provider for Pinellas County, providing more than 13 million rides per year. PSTA operates nearly 50 bus and trolley routes with a fleet of 210 vehicles. More information is available at www.psta.net or follow @RidePSTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

PSTA Safety Barrier Rendering