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24 TABLE 5 TIME PERIODS OF ASSAULTS Time Periods % Evening/late night/early morning 48 PM peak period 38 School dismissal times 28 During school runs 12 AM peak period 8 Midday 7 No discernible pattern 33 Total Responses 61 deal with stressful situations that may arise and understand Fleet Size, Peak Buses the perspectives of individuals with different backgrounds FIGURE 7 Average annual number of assaults by fleet size. and experiences. Customer relations training--All 61 respondents to this question indicated that they provide customer rela- Time Period of Assaults tions training. Essential in increasing customer satisfac- As shown in Table 5, most assaults, not surprisingly, oc- tion and mitigating and preventing disputes is profes- curred in the eveninglate nightearly morning period. Work- sionalism, courtesy, and confidence when interacting ing in isolation has been cited as a factor contributing to with passengers and the public. Most agencies stated workplace violence. Because school- and youth-related vio- they provide customer relations training to their new lence was noted as a contributing factor by almost half of the hires at time of employment and either periodically respondents, the next two periods with the highest number of thereafter or when scheduled by supervision. responses--the afternoon peak period and school dismissal Conflict mitigation training--Knowing how to respond, times--were not surprising. Thirty-three percent indicated what to do and say and what not to do and say when a "no discernible pattern," with smaller agencies more likely to dispute arises is important in preventing its escalation. indicate "no discernible pattern." Ninety percent of respondents indicated that conflict mitigation training is provided to their bus operators. Almost half provide the training at time of employment TRAINING and periodically thereafter. Diversity training--This training is important because Training of bus operators was cited by survey respondents as public transportation ridership represents the entire spec- a very effective security measure to prevent assault. Transit trum of economic and social backgrounds, ethnicities, and agencies provide a variety of training to new and veteran bus cultures. Certain phrases or gestures may be construed as operators. Training that specifically addresses customer rela- offensive to individuals from a specific culture. Commu- tions, conflict management and de-escalation techniques, and nication problems may arise when an operator does not diversity training bolsters the ability of the bus operator to speak the same language as the passenger. These issues are addressed in diversity training classes. As testament to the importance of understanding individuals from dif- 178 ferent walks of life and backgrounds and the diversity of the transit ridership, almost all agency respondents noted that they provide diversity training to their new hires at time of employment and periodically thereafter or when scheduled by supervision. Self-defense training--About a third of respondents 72 reported that they provide self-defense training to their bus operators. One agency makes it available to opera- tors upon request. Although physical self-defense train- 29 ing was the intended training category, some agencies 9 providing verbal self-defense or verbal judo-type train- ing may have responded that they provide self-defense training. About 70% of agencies that provide self-defense training to their operators are located in states with more permissive ("shall-issue") concealed firearms carry Annual Bus Ridership laws. There was no clear association between open carry FIGURE 8 Average annual number of assaults by ridership. laws and the states in which these agencies operate.