Transit Crisis 2: Assaults – A Concerning Development

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Joey Coleman/The Public Record

HSR articulated bus operating on the B-Line, July 2017, eastbound on Main at MacNab

I’m at City Hall for Council, HSR Union President Eric Tuck had to step out for an emergency. I happened to be in the lobby as he took this call.

Tuck learned that a HSR operator had just been assaulted around 5 p.m. today. Tuck told me this is the fourth assault of the week. Tuck says he and other operators have been subjected to a barrage of public anger in the past week following the City’s claims that operators are at fault for the Transit Crisis.

I just published a lengthy Editors’ Note about why the City’s spinning – and stonewalling of The Public Record’s Freedom of Information requests – on the Transit Crisis is problematic.

I focused on how the lack of information harms our ability to have an informed debate and make good decisions about how to response to the crisis.

I didn’t include this consequence – by inflaming public opinion with the claim that 19% of operators are ‘not showing up to work’, the City may be contributing to tensions on our buses.

Tensions that may be a cause of these assaults, and even if they are not the cause of the assaults, making the work environment toxic won’t help convince HSR operators to work the overtime necessary to keep buses on the road as the HSR looks to hire new operators following a early 2017 hiring freeze and cancellation of the 10-Year Transit Plan.

The City has a responsibility to address the crisis, state the facts, and not inflame with incomplete information. City Hall can do better, let’s hope they start to.

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