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East New York

Passenger attacks on bus drivers soaring, new MTA statistics show

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Passenger assaults on bus drivers are up 20% this year - with seven attacks on average every month, according to MTA statistics.

 

There were 69 physical assaults in the first nine months of this year - compared with 57 during the same stretch last year, the statistics reveal.

 

"It's dangerous," said Bx9 driver Maria Hogan, who was slugged by an irate Bronx passenger on Sept. 10. "People think they can just get away with abusing you verbally or physically."

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority didn't offer any theories for the rise in attacks on drivers. But union chiefs partly blame management.

 

Some supervisors instruct drivers to challenge riders who don't pay, resulting in dangerous confrontations with volatile fare-beaters, said Willie Rivera, a Local 100 bus division chairman.

 

"They're putting our members in harm's way," Rivera said. "If you want to challenge people who don't pay, we've always said they should go get the cops ... or hire enforcement agents."

 

Local 100 organizer J.P. Patafio theorized that drivers face a more hostile public on account of high unemployment, service cuts and fare hikes.

 

MTA spokesman Charles Seaton said drivers are trained to "gently remind" riders of the fare but not challenge them.

 

"Someone may be thinking of something else and forget to pay," Seaton said. "You certainly have to say something, making it as light as possible."

 

Union officials say the case of Jamel Wright, a driver on the M35 route, highlights drivers' predicament.

 

Wright was written up in August for allegedly being too lax on fare-beaters. Management staffers doing sidewalk surveillance in August accused Wright of waving three passengers onboard at a Randalls Island bus stop and remaining silent while four others entered without paying.

 

Wright initially faced a suspension, but the penalty was reduced to refresher training.

 

On Oct. 11, Wright reminded a man to pay the fare. The man punched Wright repeatedly in the face, union and management officials said.

 

The M35 is particularly troublesome, union officials said. The Randalls Island stop is outside a homeless shelter, and riders who are broke, volatile or both are not uncommon, they said.

 

The most extreme case of violence against bus drivers in recent years was the December 2008 murder of Edwin Thomas on Brooklyn's B46 bus route. An ex-con stabbed Thomas in a dispute over a free transfer.

 

After Thomas' murder, the MTA installed safety partitions in a limited number of buses.

 

In Hogan's case, her attacker was enraged the bus didn't pull over at his regular stop, which was closed for construction. He punched her in the face and tried to pull her from her seat.

 

Emotionally distraught, Hogan hasn't returned to work.

 

"I've been assaulted twice now," she said. "My biggest fear is what's going to happen when I come back. Is it going to be the third time?"

 

 

pdonohue@nydailynews.com

Read more here.

 

 

alg_mta_bus.jpg

Photo Courtesy Fovelo for News

 

 

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For the record, these incidents seem to be a local bus problem. We don't have these problems on the express bus. I wonder if the (MTA) should look at the express bus for ideas that could better help with the problems on the local bus?

 

 

Can't wait til the B44 SBS goes live at Flatbush -- I will be picking a late run on it.

 

That doesn't solve all of your problems. You could get a knucklehead that could come up and demand a transfer...

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That doesn't solve all of your problems. You could get a knucklehead that could come up and demand a transfer...

Press F1 and keep it moving. Problem solved. lol

But then again, I'm not sure how SBS works fully, farebox wise ...

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Press F1 and keep it moving. Problem solved. lol

But then again, I'm not sure how SBS works fully, farebox wise ...

 

LOL... I hear ya... Best way to do it. I used the M15SBS over the weekend to get over to Bloomingdales (took the M22 over from Tribeca to get it) and I made sure that I kept my ticket in my hand the whole time. All of the times that I've used the M15 so far I have yet to see anyone ask for a transfer, but I get your point overall. We had the same set up when I lived back in Italy. We had ticket machines on the bus and you would get on through any of the 3 doors (on the major lines that used accordion buses or 2 doors on the regular buses) and then go to one of the machines and stamp your ticket. You would think that it would be chaotic but it worked well. I think there were at least 4 ticket machines on each bus so even at the big stops it wasn't a problem. Of course the drivers didn't have to worry about folks paying and just had to drive. I remember asking a B/O for directions when I traveled to Scandicci (a upscale neighborhood in Florence Italy) on the 16 which had the long accordion buses. The B/O seemed to be shielded to as degree and that was the first AND only time that I actually interacted with a B/O during all of the times that I rode the bus throughout Italy and that's because I didn't have to enter through the front door to get on and pay.

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Press F1 and keep it moving. Problem solved. lol

But then again, I'm not sure how SBS works fully, farebox wise ...

 

Usually the fareboxes are covered up to avoid people dipping their cards into it like retards

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One of the reasons why SBS lines are senior lines. Careful Acela, you may not get it all right away. The best you can probably do, to start, is pick a floater where you do the SBS at least one day a week. As your seniority increases and the MTA expands the SBS program (faster, boys, faster!), you will upgrade to SBS 2 days a week, local/limited 3 days a week, then SBS 3, L/L 2, then SBS 4, L/L 1, then SBS 5, L/L 0 and then you can ride the thing until the wheels fall off.

 

My friend has like 10 years on the job and even he is having some difficulty picking SBS.

 

Also the SLDs are not supposed to bother you about waiting your time since the objective of the operation is to make the buses faster. The only time you use the dreaded box is when someone wants a transfer, when you have to log in, or when you have to put in your destination sign codes. The only button you use if you are not changing your sign or logging in, is F1 for transfers or F6 to clear the box so you can see the time, if you just dispensed a transfer, changed the sign, or logged in. No F5 for deadbeats (as you have no knowledge neither is it your problem whether a passenger didn't pay, and it's their problem since they run the risk of being fined), no #7 for other employees or whatever other button is on the accursed thing.

 

Also the shields are being installed on the LFS Artics at the moment. 1285-1289 in Kingsbridge and I believe several in 126 Street have them. Don't know about Gun Hill. It's a good shield, provides good coverage, and it's far from flimsy. I got a bit of a shock last week when I rode 1288 on the Bx9 and saw the shield.

Edited by '89 Liberty MCI
More information, paragraph 3.

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It's a shame that the operators have to be caged up instead of the human animals who try and hurt us.

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Can't wait til the B44 SBS goes live at Flatbush -- I will be picking a late run on it.

 

Ha good luck. You know damn well all those senior guys will pick that since they don't have deal with the people not paying. Its bad enough I can't pick anything decent over there since they started the inter lining with the 41/46.

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Ha good luck. You know damn well all those senior guys will pick that since they don't have deal with the people not paying. Its bad enough I can't pick anything decent over there since they started the inter lining with the 41/46.

 

lol... Hey maybe you two know each other... Got a lot of young bucks out of Flatbush these days huh? Now I feel old... :cry:

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lol... Hey maybe you two know each other... Got a lot of young bucks out of Flatbush these days huh? Now I feel old... :cry:

 

Lol yea we went to the same high school.

One thing about this story that bothers me is that the mta actually disciplined the driver on the m35!. When I was hired, the superintendents at zerega told everybody about the m35 saying that its a federally funded line and almost everybody there throws in a penny or just walks in so just say nothing and wave them in because they might try and assault you if you enforce the fare. Now he did what they told him to do and look what happened. I would like to see people from management do that line for a week and see if they will enforce that fare especially on the trips back to the island so they could get a bed for the night before they run out.

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Lol yea we went to the same high school.

One thing about this story that bothers me is that the mta actually disciplined the driver on the m35!. When I was hired, the superintendents at zerega told everybody about the m35 saying that its a federally funded line and almost everybody there throws in a penny or just walks in so just say nothing and wave them in because they might try and assault you if you enforce the fare. Now he did what they told him to do and look what happened. I would like to see people from management do that line for a week and see if they will enforce that fare especially on the trips back to the island so they could get a bed for the night before they run out.

 

I think the problem was that he didn't say anything and just waived them on.

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For the record, these incidents seem to be a local bus problem. We don't have these problems on the express bus. I wonder if the (MTA) should look at the express bus for ideas that could better help with the problems on the local bus?

 

Hate to put it like this, but that's rather obvious.

 

hell with "seem", they ARE a local bus problem - at least here in the NYC....

NJ is a different animal, since on some routes, the b/o has an added responsibility of having to handle cold hard cash......

 

back to NYC though, I have never heard of an incident where an exp. bus driver was attacked by a passenger....

 

I'm not sure what you could be possibly thinkin of that'd aid in diminishing these pax. attacks on b/o's, using the exp. bus as a model/example.... You of all people should know the attitude/demeanor of the average passenger on an exp. bus, and the avg. passenger on a local, is very different..... I'd even stretch that to say, the avg. exp. bus passenger has more to lose (in life), by goin up to a b/o & stabbin him (for w/e the reason)......

 

 

.....and before someone comes on here w/ the "anything can happen anywhere" response, well, yes of course.... aint no one doubtin that.

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I think the problem was that he didn't say anything and just waived them on.

 

Yea I know that but the problem that I was getting to was that they tell you to just wave them in on that line because they know about about 99% of the people that take that route, even in the depot they tell you not to challenge them about the fare.

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Yea I know that but the problem that I was getting to was that they tell you to just wave them in on that line because they know about about 99% of the people that take that route, even in the depot they tell you not to challenge them about the fare.

 

I understand, but perhaps he should've just stated the fare. Waiving them on makes it look as if he's voluntarily giving them a free pass.

 

Hate to put it like this, but that's rather obvious.

 

hell with "seem", they ARE a local bus problem - at least here in the NYC....

NJ is a different animal, since on some routes, the b/o has an added responsibility of having to handle cold hard cash......

 

back to NYC though, I have never heard of an incident where an exp. bus driver was attacked by a passenger....

 

I'm not sure what you could be possibly thinkin of that'd aid in diminishing these pax. attacks on b/o's, using the exp. bus as a model/example.... You of all people should know the attitude/demeanor of the average passenger on an exp. bus, and the avg. passenger on a local, is very different..... I'd even stretch that to say, the avg. exp. bus passenger has more to lose (in life), by goin up to a b/o & stabbin him (for w/e the reason)......

 

 

.....and before someone comes on here w/ the "anything can happen anywhere" response, well, yes of course.... aint no one doubtin that.

 

 

I don't think it's that obvious though. Think about it. You know that occasionally we get a few irregulars on the express buses... In other words, folks that generally ride the local bus and they may take the express bus here and there. I'm referring to the ones that look completely out of place and look like the types that would skip the fare on the local bus. However, they pay on the express bus because they know that it won't be tolerated. The problem with the local bus is that folks have gotten comfortable with just getting on and not paying. It's all about the mentality. I don't understand why there is a double standard. B/Os will stop the express bus because it's the premium fare but will wave folks on on the local bus. Granted I realize that it's not worth it for the B/Os for a measly $2.25 but still. They need to put measures in place to better protect B/Os especially and to do more to stop the farebeating. By doing nothing to stop the problem you only embolden these folks more and that's why I think that the attacks on B/Os on the local bus will become worse. Putting shields up is great, but that's not going to stop the attacks and that's the real problem.

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I don't think it's that obvious though. Think about it. You know that occasionally we get a few irregulars on the express buses... In other words, folks that generally ride the local bus and they may take the express bus here and there. I'm referring to the ones that look completely out of place and look like the types that would skip the fare on the local bus. However, they pay on the express bus because they know that it won't be tolerated.

 

Those ppl. you're speaking of, pay b/c of the surrounding atmosphere on an exp. (compared to the locals); not so much that it won't be tolerated... I know that b/c I used to BE one of those people..... You even puttin it like that, you're makin it sound like drivers that operate on express routes have some kind of immunity that drivers that operate on local routes don't....

 

man, simply put, it's less nzzzzz BS on, and associated with, the express bus.

You can chalk that up to the "premium" (hate that word) fare, or whatever....

 

It's no different than someone goin to a venue at the Oheka Castle, compared to goin to Amazura (for example).... Where are you more likely to get shot.... stabbed... killed... That is my point.

 

What is so inobvious about that?

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Those ppl. you're speaking of, pay b/c of the surrounding atmosphere , not so much that it won't be tolerated... You're kinda makin it sound like drivers that operate on express routes have some kind of immunity that drivers that operate on local routes don't....

 

man, simply put, it's less nzzzzz BS on, and associated with, the express bus.

You can chalk that up to the "premium" (hate that word) fare, or whatever....

 

What is so inobvious about that?

 

It's not so obvious because I have seen B/Os stop the express bus until people pay on several occasions and some of them get really agitated looking as if to say I'm not tolerating that BS here. Hell even me, I may forget that my Metrocard expired and take out the wrong one from my wallet and they automatically get all tense and **** like I'm going to beat the fare or something even though they know I'm a regular. If they had that attitude on the local bus lines a lot of the crap that happens wouldn't.

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It's not so obvious because I have seen B/Os stop the express bus until people pay on several occasions and some of them get really agitated looking as if to say I'm not tolerating that BS here. Hell even me, I may forget that my Metrocard expired and take out the wrong one from my wallet and they automatically get all tense and **** like I'm going to beat the fare or something even though they know I'm a regular. If they had that attitude on the local bus lines a lot of the crap that happens wouldn't.

 

You're reinforcing my point... that very tension you're talkin about, doesn't happen on a local bus...

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You're reinforcing my point... that very tension you're talkin about, doesn't happen on a local bus...

 

The thing is though it used to happen on some local buses. That's a thing of the past though and that's the problem.

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The thing is though it used to happen on some local buses. That's a thing of the past though and that's the problem.

And that "tension" is getting our fellow brother operators assaulted. I believe there's a different class of folks on express lines, where they have a sense of pride in their life, and have no problem paying the fare, or if they do have an issue, their not so violent about it opposed to the local routes, or specifically routes that go through rough areas. You don't hear about assaults on the B3 or B64, right? Just saying ...

lol... Hey maybe you two know each other... Got a lot of young bucks out of Flatbush these days huh? Now I feel old...

Yeah, we know each other.

Oh, and trust me - there's plenty of seniors at the depot.

Matter of fact, the #1 senior operator in the system works at our depot too.

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And that "tension" is getting our fellow brother operators assaulted.

The tension he's talkin about is pretty much non-existant on the local routes; the fear/worry of a passenger not paying the full fare or w/e.... unfortunately, that fear is pretty much gone (even w/ those "assaulting a b/o is a felony...." warnings on the bus)....

 

 

 

The thing is though it used to happen on some local buses. That's a thing of the past though and that's the problem.

 

Ok, but fare beating was always a problem though.... the tension was there back then b/c b/o's weren't being attacked @ the rate they are now.... the brightest of lights is being shined on what's resulting from b/o's speaking up nowadays to a passenger.... Which is why you have b/o's waving ppl. on whenever there's some type of issue w/ a metrocard, or someone's short on change or w/e..... Which is why you have these drivers on that "is $2.25 really worth my life" tip.... Aint nobody that much of a dam company man... LMAO.....

 

It is not the lack of protection that the drivers have that's the problem, as much as it is the hoolegan, thuggery, mad-at-the-world, barbaric, f*** you pay me, IDGAF attitudes (throw in as many synonyms as you want to add to that to) that's runnin rampant out here that's being exuded (and acted out).... It wasn't on this level, back then.... You can blame socioeconomics, blame population density, whatever.....

 

 

.....and before Gorgor comes swoopin through talkin about how ppl. on this forum always defend MTA personnel, you may as well dead that s*** right now.... aint no one tryna hear that, when you have these guys layin up in hospital rooms recovering from physical injuries, and (worse) the lifelong mental anguish & emotional distress that comes with it.

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Ha good luck. You know damn well all those senior guys will pick that since they don't have deal with the people not paying. Its bad enough I can't pick anything decent over there since they started the inter lining with the 41/46.

Yeah, I actually got the idea from the seniors in the depot too; they were all talking about it in the swing room one day. lmao! Definitely curious to how many runs will be available on B44 SBS. If I can't pick it, I'll stay on the list, that way there's a chance of me even tasting it. :cool:

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Ok, but fare beating was always a problem though.... the tension was there back then b/c b/o's weren't being attacked @ the rate they are now.... the strobe light (so to speak) is being shined on what's resulting from b/o's speaking up nowadays to a passenger.... Which is why you have these drivers on that "is $2.25 really worth my life" tip.... Aint nobody that much of a dam company man... LMAO.....

 

It is not the lack of protection that the drivers have that's the problem, as much as it is the hoolegan, thuggery, mad-at-the-world, barbaric, f*** you pay me, IDGAF attitudes (throw in as many synonyms as you want to add to that to) that's runnin rampant out here that's being exuded (and acted out).... It wasn't on this level, back then.... You can blame socioeconomics, blame population density, whatever.....

 

 

.....and before Gorgor comes swoopin through talkin about how ppl. on this forum always defend MTA personnel, you may as well dead that s*** right now.... aint no one tryna hear that, when you have these guys layin up in hospital rooms recovering from physical injuries, and (worse) the lifelong mental anguish & emotional distress that comes with it.

 

 

LOL... You've got me here snickering in my office... My boss is probably wondering what in the world I'm laughing at in her office across from mine, but whatever. I tend to that from time to time. She's gotten used to it now since some of the projects that I work with have funny stuff in them too.

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I think the problem was that he didn't say anything and just waived them on.

 

Well, maybe the fact that he waved them on was what did him in. It made it look as if he was encouraging them to get a free ride.

 

I'm not sure what you could be possibly thinkin of that'd aid in diminishing these pax. attacks on b/o's, using the exp. bus as a model/example.... You of all people should know the attitude/demeanor of the average passenger on an exp. bus, and the avg. passenger on a local, is very different..... I'd even stretch that to say, the avg. exp. bus passenger has more to lose (in life), by goin up to a b/o & stabbin him (for w/e the reason)......

 

.....and before someone comes on here w/ the "anything can happen anywhere" response, well, yes of course.... aint no one doubtin that.

 

Well, chances are that an express bus passenger wouldn't be carrying around a weapon in the first place. In any case, you're right that express bus riders probably have more to lose than local bus riders.

 

Plus, 99% of express bus riders intend on paying the fare. Somebody who's paying $5.50 for a ride isn't going to want to mess it up by getting into an argument.

 

I don't think it's that obvious though. Think about it. You know that occasionally we get a few irregulars on the express buses... In other words, folks that generally ride the local bus and they may take the express bus here and there. I'm referring to the ones that look completely out of place and look like the types that would skip the fare on the local bus. However, they pay on the express bus because they know that it won't be tolerated. The problem with the local bus is that folks have gotten comfortable with just getting on and not paying. It's all about the mentality. I don't understand why there is a double standard. B/Os will stop the express bus because it's the premium fare but will wave folks on on the local bus. Granted I realize that it's not worth it for the B/Os for a measly $2.25 but still. They need to put measures in place to better protect B/Os especially and to do more to stop the farebeating. By doing nothing to stop the problem you only embolden these folks more and that's why I think that the attacks on B/Os on the local bus will become worse. Putting shields up is great, but that's not going to stop the attacks and that's the real problem.

 

Well, think of how much an express bus costs per passenger, and think of how much a local bus costs per passenger. A farebeater on a local bus is getting a ride that costs the MTA (on average) about $3 to provide. By contrast, a farebeater on an express bus is getting a ride that costs (on average) over $15 to provide.

 

As far as them waving them on, there's two reasons (one of which you should already know):

 

* Local riders are more likely to start a physical fight (isn't that the whole topic of this discussion?)

 

* The longer they wait at the stop, the more passengers build up at the following stops. Also, local drivers are more likely to have a run in the opposite direction, so if they're spending any significant amount of time arguing with a passenger, they'll be late in the opposite direction as well and could potentially get in trouble.

 

And putting up shields will stop attacks for the simple reason that the B/Os will be harder to attack. I think you're trying to say that it won't stop farebeating, which is the case. (And I refuse to go into an argument on farebeating itself)

 

But I'd also like to point out that not all fights start over the fare. They could start over a passenger missing his stop (in some cases it's their fault and in other cases, it's the B/O's fault), or over a passenger being flagged and then catching up to the bus that flagged them, or over something else (we've all heard of that driver on the B82 who's been assaulted for driving too slowly)

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Yeah, I actually got the idea from the seniors in the depot too; they were all talking about it in the swing room one day. lmao! Definitely curious to how many runs will be available on B44 SBS. If I can't pick it, I'll stay on the list, that way there's a chance of me even tasting it. :cool:

 

Whenever they convert a line to SBS they always cut runs. The number of SBS and local runs altogether on the route in question is typically lower than the number of runs on the route when it was a local/limited route. Of course this is because a SBS bus requires less running time than a limited bus. Depending on how much lower the running time is on the SBS than on the old limited, there can be either fewer or the same number of runs regardless of a significant increase in service frequency.

 

Unfortunately even the M15 SBS, with all those buses on the road at once, is difficult to pick. I originally thought it would be easy for my friend to pick the boat over there and get Tuesday/Wednesday off (you can tell that doesn't seem like asking for much), and boy was I wrong when he told me that even senior guys will take a late run with Tuesday/Wednesday off on a SBS route. The Bx12 SBS has fewer runs and yet is easier to pick from what I understand because it has more turns, more traffic, and doesn't serve the same clientele. Last part doesn't matter nearly as much on SBS as on the other routes, but it's still a factor.

 

The other thing is that 126 Street is closed off at the moment (no picking in/out) due to the merge. That's what I heard. Although it will close for renovation in another couple of years, so those operators and the routes will have to go somewhere.

 

If the B44 LC/LT (local/limited) currently has 100 runs I'd say you're looking at about 45-55 runs on the SBS and 30-35 runs on the local.

 

This job is getting better as time goes on, slowly but surely, somehow, in spite of the fact that 25% of the people in the City of New York and 20% of the people in the world are mentally ill...

Edited by '89 Liberty MCI
Grammar in the last lines.

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