Chicago Sun-Times

CTA buses to get protective barriers for drivers' safety

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The CTA says it will put protective barriers on its buses to separate drivers from passengers who may try to attack them. CTA drivers have long complained about the dangers of driving a bus, particularly in areas outside of the Loop where police officers are less likely to ride buses in plainclothes or uniform.

A recent attack on a driver on the No. 12 Roosevelt route highlights the problem.

CTA bus driver Mario Jones was watching customers board his bus on the No. 12 Roosevelt route. Next thing he knew, he was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head from behind.

The Chicago Transit Authority said Jones was attacked by a passenger on the bus, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and crash it into a fence at Roosevelt and Kolmar.

Six people were injured in the Oct. 7 crash, including Jones, who had to get 20 stitches in his face.

His assailant is still at large, Chicago Police said.

Jones, who has been a CTA driver for 11 months, said he's "had a lot of nightmares" since the incident, and he's not sure he'll come back to the CTA.

"Now that I've had time to think about it, it was really scary," he said. "I feel fortunate that I'm still here."

The incident isn't the first to raise questions about safety for bus drivers.

Darrell Jefferson, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, said at least two other drivers have been assaulted by CTA riders in the past month.

'You have to pay'
Some bus drivers have said they don't feel safe because there aren't enough police officers patrolling buses and there aren't any barriers separating drivers from passengers who may try to harm them.

Acknowledging drivers' concerns, CTA President Ron Huberman said Thursday that the CTA will retrofit its existing bus fleet with partial barriers and also has requested that new buses now on order are made with protective barriers.

According to Jones, his attacker boarded the empty bus while Jones was taking a restroom break at the end of a run. When Jones asked the man, who police said was in his 30s, for payment, the man tried to pay with an invalid fare card. Then he borrowed $2 from a passenger who got on after him.

Before he took his seat, the man allegedly told Jones, "If I have to pay, you have to pay."

But Jones said he "didn't think anything of it," because the man "never seemed like a threat." A few minutes later, "he just attacked me," Jones said.

"I hope this guy is gonna get caught -- and whatever punishment he deserves, he gets."

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you still do NOT attack an individual who is manuevering a mass transit motor vehicle with the lives of other individuals at stake.

Of course I've never attacked a bus driver. If you read my posts again, you'll see that this is the point I was trying to make. If you don't like waiting for a guy with twelve fair cards, stop taking the bus and walk home. Problem solved, okay?

Anonymous, I am not sure if you are emotionally hurting or being sarcastic. Maybe it is both, but you still do NOT attack an individual who is manuevering a mass transit motor vehicle with the lives of other individuals at stake.

I pray your sarcasm is NOT from selfishness, but from a place of hurt which did not come across too well.

"I am tired of ALL KNUCKLEHEADS who get onto the bus AND HAVE TWELVE CARDS and none of them work!!!"

You've never had a real problem in your entire life, have you.

Don't hand my any of this crap about how you're "tired" of us "KNUCKLEHEADS". When people are tired of dealing with thugs and degenerates they go after the guys selling dope and robbing people, they don't target the guys carrying library books and bookbags and wearing school ID's. The only reason people like you choose to target me is because you know that I will not retaliate because I am peaceful and law-abiding. You wouldn't dare try anything like this on a REAL criminal because you know he'd bust a cap in your hide.

Wow, a man was assaulted- that doesn't happen a thousand times a day, every day of the year. Of course the cops will catch this seriously mentally ill individual and with any luck they'll be able to shoot him in the back and claim he pointed a rocket launcher at them.

Oh and by the way; you're not a black man, you're a clown.

I find it strange no one has posted on this topic or maybe they want to, but concerned some other topics - which could be race related - could spring up. Guess What? I don't give a DAMN!

When they find the individual who attacked the CTA driver, charge him with several counts of VOLUNTARY VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER. I don't care if a person did NOT DIE! You do NOT attack ANY person driving a motor vehicle, especially a MASS TRANSIT CARRIER! That was a display of terrorism. Why? Simply because the person did not care for the lives of the other patrons who PAID their fare. He did NOT CARE they had families to go home to. Damn, some one paid your fare, what more do you want?

This person is self-centered, narcissistic, un-caring, hateful, devious, poorly-educated, has child-like mental behavior to THINK someone is SUPPOSED to let you RIDE for FREE! Whoever the person is, they are a COWARD! To punch someone in the back of the head or attacked them when indefensible while driving the bus displays his lack of manhood.

Matter of fact, I am tired of ALL KNUCKLEHEADS who get onto the bus AND HAVE TWELVE CARDS and none of them work!!!

I AM A BLACK MAN! -- So don't any Black person start whining about this. You know you don't like it either!

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on October 19, 2007 11:23 AM.

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