Transit/Safety- More cameras mounted in NYC buses to protect drivers from violent fares  – NY Daily News

Posted: July 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

July 14, 2013

Punks beware: The number of security cameras on buses has more than doubled since last summer and some drivers — fearful of being attacked — are packing Mace.

Between January 2010 and Wednesday, riders physically attacked MTA drivers 313 times, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority statistics. On average, approximately seven drivers a month are slapped, punched or even stabbed while on duty.

And the assault statistics don’t include the disgusting but not uncommon incidents of drivers being spat on.

“You are constantly wary,” Bronx bus driver Vaughn Brooks said at a transit union protest against the violence held outside a NYC Transit office building Thursday in downtown Brooklyn. “You don’t trust anybody. You are always on your guard.”

Drivers and union officials say far too little has changed since Edwin Thomas, a Brooklyn bus driver, was stabbed to death in 2008.

Drivers and union officials say far too little has changed since Edwin Thomas, a Brooklyn bus driver, was stabbed to death in 2008.

Transit officials hope the added technology, along with other steps, will help turn the tide against the bad guys.

After years of delays, an MTA effort to install cameras on buses has finally taken off. Since last July, the number of buses with the security equipment has grown from 500 to 1,210, a spokesman for MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said. That’s approximately 21% of the fleet. And by early next year, the number is expected to grow to 1,576, or 27% of the fleet, the spokesman said.

Increasingly, police investigating the steady series of driver assaults have video footage of the culprits they are looking to identify and arrest, said Vincent DeMarino, NYC Transit security chief.

The NYPD recently released video images of a woman in a gray hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants who slashed a Bronx bus driver in the arm at 4 p.m. July 5. The woman, who fled after sudden and unprovoked attack at Southern Blvd. and Westchester Ave., has not yet been caught.

Since last July, the number of buses with the security equipment has grown from 500 to 1,210 — or 21% of the fleet.

Since last July, the number of buses with the security equipment has grown from 500 to 1,210 — or 21% of the fleet.

Just three days earlier, another bus driver was punched and robbed of her purse at Delancey St. and FDR Drive. The robber boarded after the driver had discharged all the passengers at the lower East Side stop.

About 80 bus drivers attended a Thursday rally organized by Transport Workers Union Local 100. Angry drivers and union officials said they want the MTA to move more quickly with the installation of cameras and safety partitions. They also called on the NYPD to routinely have officers ride buses.

Drivers and union officials said far too little has changed since Edwin Thomas, a Brooklyn bus driver, was stabbed to death by an ex-con fare-beater in 2008.

One veteran bus driver said he started carrying Mace after Thomas’ murder. “In case somebody tries to attack me,” he said. “I want to make it home to my family.”

A female bus driver who works the overnight shift in the Bronx said she’s carried Mace on the job for about four years. “Sometimes I don’t think it’s enough but that’s what I carry right now,” she said. “You hear about all these assaults and you say to yourself, ‘I don’t want that to be me.'”

via More cameras mounted in NYC buses to protect drivers from violent fares  – NY Daily News.

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