Transit workers meet to discuss worker safety
SEPTA bus driver Genna S. demands a wall.
She wants a clear, plastic divider between her and the passengers—a precaution she feels would have prevented a man last January from grabbing her between her legs as she drove through North Philadelphia around 10 p.m. on a Friday night.
“We become targets,” said Genna, a five-year employee who asked her last name be withheld.
She told her story to members of TWU Local 234, who gathered Thursday to talk safety. The issue of the day: How to reduce assaults on transit workers and riders.
Genna, who returned to work after resolving the conflict, starts her route on South Broad Street, winds through West Philly and North Philly before ending in Chestnut Hill.
SEPTA has taken initiative on some good safety measures, she said, including added cameras, but they aren’t a cure. She rattled off a few ideas: armed guards, self-defense classes for drivers and respect from the passengers.
Alex Gatta, a TWU executive board member, said more aggressive measures need to be taken.
“Cameras are good,” he said, “But they’re not going to stop these things from happening.”
SEPTA Spokeswoman Jerri Williams said in regards to the suggestions: ”We’ve been working very closely with the TWU. … and we are certainly working together with them to see which [changes] would work.”