Bus drivers and SkyTrain attendants should have the same legal protections as airline workers, TransLink chair Dale Parker said yesterday.
He said it’s “unacceptable” that 38 bus drivers were reportedly assaulted in the first quarter of 2009 and four SkyTrain attendants were threatened over the same period.
“We would like to see legislation in place that treats an assault against a transit worker the same as an assault on an airline worker,” he said. “And we would like to see the force of the law come down as heavily as necessary to act as a deterrent.”
Parker added that considering the size of a bus and the presence of other motorists and pedestrians, the consequences of an assault against a bus driver could be tragic.
The rate of assaults, however, has improved since last year, which Coast Mountain Bus CEO Denis Clements credits to training and new conflict resolution strategies.
“The news is better, but still, one assault is too many,” Clements said.
About 40 initiatives are being considered by TransLink to improve safety, ranging from technology to training.