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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit bus drivers say they’re fed up working in deplorable conditions — with primitive seating, daily assaults from passengers and bug-infested coaches — and they’re demanding the city take action.
The drivers say their working conditions are disgusting — they have no choice but to breathe diesel fumes, passengers verbally abuse and spit on them, and they’re forced to dodge roaches, bed bugs and rodents. Those are just some of the complaints from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, which represents Detroit Department of Transportation bus drivers.
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In a resolution passed Wednesday, the union is demanding the city provide improvements and immediately fix bus operator workstations to end “the preventable accidents, and driver injuries that plague DDOT.”
Union President Fred Westbrook said bus drivers in Detroit are some of the most vulnerable city employees. Assaults, verbal abuse, spitting on operators — even bed bug incidents — are all on the rise, he says.
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“An alarming number happen just because someone wants to do violence to a bus driver. Ever since that law was passed where they closed up the mental institutions, it’s a lot of people that are unstable in Detroit that ride the buses and we have to deal with them on a daily basis,” Westbrook told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “Once passengers spit on you or punch you in the face and they jump off the bus, there’s no retaliation. We need these people prosecuted. … For people who assault bus drivers in the commission of their duties, we want the same penalty that a police officer has if you assault him.”
On the other side, DDOT’s Director Dan Dirks thinks small incidents are being exaggerated and blown out of proportion. “We have had two — TWO — bed bugs on our buses. We have a program that is, we get...
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