City takes new approach to help keep bus drivers, passengers safe

bus-partition

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There have been arguments between city bus drivers and passengers that have turned violent lately. Now the city is trying something new to protect bus drivers.

It is close quarters on a bus and there is no way to screen passengers before they board. But the city can try to keep drivers and passengers apart.

A city bus driver attacked with a stroller this summer, another punched in the face just a few weeks ago. Albuquerque city bus drivers said a confrontation can escalate quickly.

ABQ Ride spokesman Rick De Reyes said they have about 20 security officers, but not nearly enough to cover all 160,000 passenger miles traveled every day.

“Not all security can be on all buses,” said De Reyes. “So it’s a hit or miss thing.”

But ABQ Ride said they rely on surveillance cameras to be a deterrent.

“They have a view towards the front, a view towards the back, a view towards the driver, a view towards where people board,” said De Reyes.

They also have also been testing two types of partitions that are meant to protect the driver.

“Just a halfway that covers the driver and another one is a full set-up that covers, almost from the bottom of the chair, all the way up,” said De Reyes.

The initial feedback has not been great from drivers.

“A lot of them feel restricted by it,” said De Reyes.

They are planning to test out a third partition option, and are hopeful it could help keep drivers safe.

ABQ Ride said the mobile nature of buses makes them difficult to secure, and asks the public to keep an eye out for trouble.

“If you see something, if you witness something, tell police,” said De Reyes.

APD does handle incidents on city buses, but they are not stationed on them. ABQ Ride said they have plans to expand security when the new Albuquerque Rapid Transit project is finished next year.

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