On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 1139, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation is needed to help address the growing epidemic of assaults committed against transit workers, enhance pedestrian safety, and facilitate needed improvements to the bus operator’s work station.
Recent news stories have shown that assaults against transit employees are on the rise. Just weeks ago, a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) worker was caught in a violent altercation that left him with stab wounds to his chest and abdomen. A Washington, D.C. Metro bus operator had urine thrown on her and a pregnant operator in New Jersey was sent to the hospital after being attacked by a passenger.
Attacks like these not only put the bus operator at risk, but also passengers and people in other vehicles. To help curb these attacks, Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) have reintroduced H.R. 1139, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act of 2019 (formerly the Bus Operator and Pedestrian Protection Act). This bill will require transit agencies to develop a risk reduction plan using data-driven analysis and employee input. Based on the results, agencies will be required to deploy strategies—tailored to meet the needs of each transit system—to improve safety and working conditions.
The bill also requires transit agencies to conduct similar risk reduction analyses on visual obstructions and the ergonomic design of the operator workstation. Large pillars and poorly positioned mirrors create significant blind spots for bus operators that have led to accidents leaving hundreds of pedestrians dead or badly injured. In addition, improper workstation designs can cause significant ergonomic injury to operators over the course of their careers.
I urge you to support this important legislation to enhance the safety of transit workers, passengers and the public.
William Samuel, Director