Metro union calls for increased police presence after bus driver’s recent assault

Metro union president press conference 9 1 17Metro Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter asks Metro leadership to increase police presence on more bus routes Friday.   PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  A Metro union president said she continues to call for more police officers on buses after a passenger threw a cup of urine on a bus driver.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said she has been urgently requesting police officers on more Metro buses since she took a leadership position for the union 10 years ago.

She said during a press conference at Minnesota Avenue Station Friday at least one driver for the X2 bus route, on which the urine incident occurred a few days ago, requested a supervisor or police officer ride on board with them for protection. Jeter then said a male bus driver left Minnesota Avenue Station in tears early Friday after a supervisor ordered him to complete the route without the protection he requested.

Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer confirmed around 8 a.m. that X2 riders should expect delays of about 20 minutes.  However he said he could not confirm or deny a relationship between the operator's reluctance to operate the bus Friday and the bus line being on schedule.

Metro Transit Police staffed about six officers at Minnesota Avenue Station Friday for the press conference. Chief Ron Pavlik said he would like to see local jurisdictions increase penalties for assaults on transit operators such as bus drivers.

Jeter said she is asking Metro leadership when Local 689 can expect more visible police presence on all bus routes, not just the "hot spots" where crime is more common. She said she would ask for General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and Chief Operations Officer Joe Leader to be fired if she thought it would lead to Metro complying with her request.



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