New MBTA Ads Will Remind Riders That T Drivers Are People, Too

The campaign aims to help you "get to know" the folks responsible for your commute.

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MBTA employees, no strangers to abuse while shuttling commuters around Boston, are about to get some recognition this week.

Starting Thursday, 1,000 signs will be put up in buses and trains featuring photos of smiling T operators and inspectors, each with info about their personal lives.

Their message: We’re people, too.

“I am a father. A grandfather. A brother. And a husband of 25 years. I love to sing, find a great fishing spot and plan a fun vacation,” reads one. “I am also your MBTA bus driver. And I’m proud to get you where you’re going.”

Reads another: “I am a sister. A niece. A granddaughter and a great friend, I’ve worked in Italy and I’m an EMT. I am also an MBTA trolley operator. My mission is to get you where you’re going.”

Eight ads for the “Get to Know Your Driver” campaign will be making their debut Wednesday morning and will be up for at least six months, says MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The relationship between T operators and passengers can sometimes be hostile. Last year alone, T drivers saw 20 documented incidents of physical and verbal assault, Pesaturo says. Cases include a man who chugged a beer and punched a bus driver in August, and a suspect in a Michael Myers mask who attacked a T operator in October. Transit Police are currently trying to track down a person of interest in a March 7 attack on a bus driver. Things are looking better overall this year, though.

Violence directed at T employees is down 33 percent so far in 2017, Pesaturo says. So maybe a campaign encouraging kindness can help keep that number down.

The tributes come just in time for national Transit Driver Appreciation Day, which is Saturday, March 18. On that day, the T plans to light up the Government Center head house with the colors of the T.

For those who want to go the extra mile for the occasion, you can print out personalized “thank you” cards available on the TDAD website.