Bus drivers refuse to provide service, request police escort after Metrobus urine attack

Metrobuses not in service after drivers refuse service calling for tougher safety measures after last week's urine attack.  Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 (Ryan Hughes/ABC7) 

Bus drivers are requesting a police escort and are refusing to provide service to riders Friday after a woman was caught throwing urine on a driver last week.

The X2 Metrobus is not in service at this time as drivers protest what they believe are unsafe conditions. ABC7's Ryan Hughes reports the X1, X3 and X9 Metrobus lines are currently operating.

On Friday morning, Metro issued a statement regarding the actions of the Metrobus drivers:

ATU Local 689, the union representing Metrobus Operators, is currently engaged in an unauthorized and potentially unlawful labor action that is significantly impacting riders on the X2 line. The stated goal by union leadership is to draw attention to safety concerns, specifically bus operator assaults, following an incident on Saturday. This is a subject on which Metro and the union agree: Absolutely no one should be assaulted simply for doing their job. However, we disagree with impacting Metro customers who are simply trying to get to work and school by Metrobus Operators refusing to provide bus service in a disruptive and unlawful job action.
Metro and the union also agree that laws need to be strengthened to help protect bus operators, including enhanced penalties for anyone who assaults a frontline transit worker.
We should note that, working with the Union, Metro has taken several steps to address the issue of bus operator safety. For example, Metro Transit Police now have nearly 40 Transit Police officers specifically assigned to Metrobus. These officers are embedded with our bus operators at Shepherd Parkway and Northern bus divisions with the goal of sharing information with operators about where problems are being encountered. Additionally, more than a third of Metrobuses have now been equipped with protective shields and all new buses will arrive from the factory with a safety shield already installed. In addition, every Metrobus has been equipped with digital cameras that are always recording, as well as communication equipment that allows the operator to call for help with the push of a button.

Drivers tell ABC7 News this demonstration is not a strike, it's about the operator and public safety. This move comes amid bus drivers demanding tougher safety measures from Metro.

Opal Brown, the woman accused in the incident, appeared in court Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday, Metro union members demanded better safety measures from the transit system to protect its bus drivers.

This story will be updated

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