London Transit testing bus barriers to curb driver assaults – The London Free Press

The London Transit Commission is testing out a new safety measure they hope will reduce violence against bus drivers.

The city’s public transit authority is partnering with the Amalgamated Transit Union 741, the labour group that represents its drivers, to launch a pilot project for so-called operator safety barriers.

Passengers will notice the barriers starting Aug. 13, when the program launches. The specialized installations, which block passengers from getting too close to drivers, have been installed on three buses which will rotate on different LTC routes.

Other cities have installed the barriers, including Vancouver and Sudbury.

This Vancouver Sun photo shows the kind of driver-protection barrier installed last year in that city’s buses. It’s unclear what the ones being tested in London will look like.

Violence against transit drivers is a serious and ongoing issue, the Canadian Urban Transit Association says. There are about 2,000 assaults against transit employees reported each year in Canada, the professional organization says, though more go unreported.

Sexual assaults, incidents that cause little or no physical harm and cases that involve weapons or bodily harm make up 45 per cent of reported assaults on transit employees, the organization says. About 30 per cent of the reported cases involve threats or harassment.