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MTA on track to install bus driver protections despite Senate bill

A bill to protect New York City bus drivers passed the state Senate this week, even though the MTA said it is on its way to do so without legislation.

bus driver new york city safety A bill to protect New York City bus drivers passed the state Senate this week, even though the MTA said it is on its way to do so without legislation.
Credit: Marc Hermann/MTA

A bill to better protect New York City bus drivers passed the state Senate this week, even though the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is on its way to do so without legislation.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, requires that all city buses feature both a protective transparent partitions for drivers and up-to-date GPS systems in cases of emergencies.

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The partitions would be required by 2019; the GPS system by 2016.

MTA officials said on Tuesday, however, both of those items are standing priorities for the transit authority and are on track to be complete long before the deadlines.

"We are already fully committed to installing partitions on all of our local buses by January 2017," said spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

As of May 9, at least 2,100 of its more than 5,700 buses had already been retrofitted with dividers to protect drivers from any attacks or dangerous activity by passengers.

Similarly, the same GPS system recently installed in all buses that allows MTA customers to track bus arrivals in real time help drivers in cases of emergencies.

Whenever a bus operator trips the silent alarm, Ortiz explained, the MTA know there's an emergency and know exactly where that bus may be.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

 
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