Friday, October 10, 2008

Bus Drivers Want More Safety


MILWAUKEE - Who are the people caught on surveillance video, attacking people on Milwaukee County busses?

That's what the Milwaukee County sheriff wants to know.

The sheriff's department is still looking for the attackers, and the bus drivers' union wants to take steps to protect drivers.

Practically everyone who takes the bus is talking about these frequent assaults on bus drivers and passengers. It's happened more than five times in the last four months, and now drivers want to protect themselves from attackers.

Bus rider Cleveland Jones has seen the disturbing videos of bus drivers and passengers being attacked over and over again.

"It's a lot of youth, I notice. It's kids, and we've got to get a hold of them. Someway, somehow, I don't know, but I think they need some security on the bus,” Jones said.

There were two attacks this week alone. When a driver told a loud rider to be quiet, the rider punched the driver and ran off. Near 57th and Hampton, a woman minding her own business was harassed by two teens and their mother and punched in the face.

"The people that ride the bus already know what's going on. They know it's dangerous, they know it's not safe. They ride the bus because they don't have other options,” Brandon Jensen with the bus drivers’ union said.

Bus drivers Thursday asked for big changes, including arming drivers with pepper spray, having more officers ride the bus, and putting up a barrier to protect drivers.

"If they need it, they need it. It's dangerous on the bus,” bus rider Carol Grimes said.

Passengers we spoke with say they're willing to put up with whatever it takes to make things safe again.

"I think they need to be able to secure themselves and not become in a situation where they are harmed,” Jones said.

A Milwaukee Transit spokesperson says they're considering the new security plan, but some of these security measures have been talked about for years.