Union president renews calls for safety barriers following driver assault

President of Amalgamated Transit Union 1722 is commending the bus driver that was assaulted on Monday for acting with complete professionalism in the ordeal.

A female driver was struck by an unknown male on Highway 97 near Hudson Road while operating a BC Transit bus. 

Scott Lovell says the bus operator was driving at the time of the incident and kept passengers safe by pulling over with composure.

He says the incident highlights the need for protective driver barriers on buses and he’s disappointed that a pilot project to test out safety shields on a couple of Kelowna buses has still not occurred.

“That was promised to us back in September, October, and that, you know, if you can’t reach the driver when you’re driving at 80km/hr on the highway, then there’s no issue”

Lovell says although security cameras were on the bus that the assault happened, it doesn’t actually prevent an assault from happening the way a barrier would.

BC Transit spokesperson, Jonathan Dyck, says barriers used in an early 2016 pilot project in other B.C. cities were proven to be ineffective and they’re looking at barrier options for future pilot projects.

 “We’re continuing to explore all options available to enhance the safety of our passengers and transit operators and that includes looking at different options that might be available for safety barriers that could be used in another pilot,” he said “but it has to be something that works for transit operators and we are looking at what options are available”

News of the assault comes just a day after a transit driver in Winnipeg was stabbed and killed.