MBTA Boss to Employees: Sorry For All the Recent Assaults

The T is putting up new posters to try and stop attacks on bus drivers.

Photo via MBTA

Photo via MBTA

The MBTA wants to remind the public that attacking bus drivers is not going to be taken lightly.

From January through April, there were 28 reported assaults on MBTA employees, which prompted general manager Dr. Beverly Scott to pen a heartfelt letter to employees expressing her condolences about the attacks. “I want you to know how deeply troubled I am by several recent brazen attacks on our employees … and to let you know that we will not sit by idly and let these egregious acts go unanswered. Certainly, getting assaulted is not part of any T employee’s job,” Scott wrote in the letter.

To increase public awareness about the legalities behind punching, spitting on, or otherwise assaulting an employee of the MBTA, officials have kicked off yet another poster campaign, which features warnings and slogans to try and deter future assaults.

In one poster, a picture of two arms shackled by handcuffs will be plastered on the backs of bus seats. The image is accompanied by a warning, and makes it look as though any passenger that decides to sit in the seat is in custody.

On top of that, officials are rolling out a new public service announcement, featuring Scott and MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, which will blast through the speakers at various train stops, threatening arrest and prosecution for any violation of the law. “Assaulting an MBTA employee is against the law. Think twice before putting your hands on T staff. We will find you, arrest you and prosecute you,” the announcement will say.

Scott says the problem has become such a concern that T officials will also mull the feasibility of installing partitions on buses that separate T employees and the general public, to avoid attacks and to keep people from spitting on employees—the latter of which plagued the transit system in 2012. “Front-line MBTA employees are particularly vulnerable to such attacks. I assure you that management and labor are committed to working collaboratively to solve this problem, and we will be working together with departments across the T on preventative and mitigating measures,” Scott wrote.

Scott says transportation officials will also head to Beacon Hill and continue to push for legislation that would strengthen the law for assaulting an operator.