Attacks On Subway Workers Up 16%, Mirroring Bus Assaults

Bus operator Brian Busy was one of the MTA workers attacked by passengers this year (source: Marcus Santos for The News)

Yesterday’s Daily News carried a story on the 16% rise in attacks on subway workers, matching a similar trend of increased attacks on city bus drivers.

According to the report, which quotes MTA officials, assaults on cleaners, conductors and other subway personnel are up 16% since January, when compared to the same time period last year.

John Samuelson, president TWU Local 100 – the union that represents New York City’s MTA workers – told those gathered at a City Council meeting that the reaction would be far different if other varieties of public employees were being attacked in similar numbers.

From Daily News:

“If there were two sanitation workers, or police officers or City Council members being assaulted every week in New York City, they’d call in the National Guard to stop those assaults from happening.” Samuelsen said.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) asked that MTA request more police protection for bus operators, suggesting that NYPD target routes with the most frequent number of incidents with both undercover and uniformed officers.

Darryl Irick, senior vice president for buses, responded that he planned on taking up the issue with police brass.

One bus driver quoted in the article, Brian Busy, testified before the City Council, telling members of one woman who assaulted him after he asked her to fold up her child’s stroller.

“She beat on me as if I was a piñata,” Busy recounted.

Despite stickers warning straphangers about a seven year prison sentence for assaulting transit employees, Busy said the woman winded up pleading to a misdemeanor and only serving a few days in jail.

MTA officials said they didn’t have data on how many attackers charged with felonies pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Union officials and transit workers reminded everyone at the hearing that the documented assaults did not include workers being spat upon and verbally abused, which they said occurs daily.

Have you ever seen a subway or bus worker being attacked, spat on or yelled at?

What do you think should be done to prevent this?