Bus drivers call on MTA to install more shields to protect from passengers
About four dozen city bus drivers rallied yesterday to urge the MTA to install more shields to protect them, in the wake of three incidents with drivers over the past two weeks.
Mark Salandy, the B68 bus driver who was stuck in the arm with a syringe last week by a passenger, said that his attack would have been prevented if his bus had a partition.
"If we had protection, it would make it a lot easier for us to do our job," said Salandy, who has to take preventative HIV/AIDS medicine for the next six months because of the attack.
"My incident, I don't know why the guy came out," Salandy said, "but I felt like if we had a partition there to protect us, it wouldn't have happened."
About 650 of the partitions have been installed in the city's 5,602 buses, and cameras are in about 600.
The MTA said it's working with the NYPD and the District Attorneys' offices to crack down on attackers, and that it's working to install more partitions.
"Any attack on a bus operator is an attack on all of us at the MTA," spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. "Attacking a bus operator is a serious crime, and we need to show the perpetrators just how serious it is."
Sixty-two bus drivers have been assaulted as of the end of August this year, compared to 59 for the same period in 2011.