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33 CHAPTER FOUR OPERATOR PROTECTION MEASURES: TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Technology, including onboard technologies, operator bar- BARRIERS riers, and information management are covered in this chapter. Onboard technologies such as radio or phone Barriers shield the bus operator from passengers and are communications and emergency communications--silent believed to be useful in protecting bus operators against pas- alarm/panic button and an electronic distress sign linked to senger assault. Partial barriers have been used and are being panic buttons--are installed in most North American bus tested by U.S. and Canadian agencies. These barriers are usu- fleets and are helpful to operators in summoning assistance. ally made from Plexiglas. Plexiglas is a clear, lightweight Video surveillance was cited by survey respondents as one material, which is thermoplastic (flexible and elastic in high of the most effective security measures. Video surveillance heat). It is characterized by high-impact strength and shatter- resistant properties, which make it an ideal substitute for glass. systems can deter crimes against operators as well as pas- However, the one factory in the United States that manufac- sengers and help police identify and prosecute assailants. tures Plexiglas has been out of commission for almost a year, Recordings are used for incident review and training pur- causing difficulties for transit agencies to procure Plexiglas poses. Profile participants noted the versatility of the mea- barriers. Full-compartment barriers are being used by some sure and its ability to effectively address multiple issues. European systems. The first adopters of operator barriers in the Audio surveillance systems have similar benefits and also United States were MiamiDade Transit and San Francisco assist police and agency management in determining what MUNI. MiamiDade Transit has had a positive experience was said during verbal altercations. There is a trend toward with barriers and believes the barriers have been very effective the use of digital video and audio surveillance systems and in protecting its bus operators against assault, even though it wireless uploading of recordings. A few agencies also have only provides partial protection. It is important that in the the capability to stream real-time video and audio to police design of the barriers, appropriate SAE standards and recom- cruisers. In the past decade or so, AVL deployment has mended practices be consulted, including SAE J833 Human increased significantly; AVL systems shorten response Physical Dimensions. APTA's bus procurement guidelines times by providing the exact location of a bus to dispatch contain sections on the operator's area, objects and instru- or police. ments within the area, and barriers between seated passengers and the operator. Though these guidelines do not specifically Barriers have not been used extensively in transit buses address barriers between the operator and boarding passen- in North America except in a few cities. MiamiDade Tran- gers, they can also help agencies develop a request for pro- sit, one of the two early adopters of the security measure, posal (RFP) that includes specifications for these barriers. The reported that barriers installed in its bus fleet have been importance of minimizing glare in the operator's work area very effective in preventing operator assault, even though and reducing the reflection of light onto the windshield is the barrier provides only partial protection. Recently, sev- clearly stated in the guidelines. The section on "Driver Area eral transit agencies have begun testing and installing them. Barrier" TS 73.1 between the operator and the front passenger The results of the tests, and agency and bus operator feed- seat notes that "the barrier shall minimize glare and reflections back, are included in this section. Full-compartment designs in the windshield directly in front of the barrier from the inte- in use in European systems have not yet been evaluated by rior lighting during night operation." In addition, the section bus transit systems in the United States as of the writing states that "location and shape must permit full seat travel and of this report. Information management assists transit police reclining possibilities that can accommodate the shoulders of and law enforcement in addressing and solving crime and a 95th-percentile male." Isolation of the panel for noise control in strategically allocating resources. Information manage- is also mentioned (24). ment includes crime management and information/data analysis by monitoring trends in assault types and perpetra- Several agencies have pilot-tested or have recently tors, intelligence gathering, and assessment. CompStat uses installed barriers. Glare and the reflection of the shields in information management tools to manage and monitor operators' mirrors and windows were mentioned as con- police officers. cerns by the profile agencies. The second concern is related

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34 to customer service. Bus operators typically communicate with passengers using gestures to help convey information and use visual cues from customers to better understand their questions or issues. Also, operators often assist passengers experiencing problems with the fare payment system by showing them how to swipe the smart card or doing it for them. This aspect of customer service would therefore be hin- dered by the physical barrier between the operator and pas- senger. In addition, some bus operators have reported feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia. They have also expressed con- cerns that partial barriers may allow a determined attacker to slide open the barrier or go around it to reach the operator. Advantages and Disadvantages FIGURE 14 MiamiDade Transit barrier. (Courtesy: Miami Advantages Dade Transit.) Bus operator perspective--increased perception of secu- MDT Operator Enclosure Specifications are as follows: rity and management support for operators. Availability of optional barriers--operators who believe An operator's area enclosure shall be provided for the operator's they are more secure using the barriers can use them, security and personal protection. The enclosure shall prevent pas- sengers from reaching the operator or operator's personal effects. whereas those who dislike them have the option of not A rear barrier between the operator and the left front passenger using them. seat shall extend from the floor level to the ceiling. A side barrier shall be located on the right side of the operator's area extending from the rear barrier forward. The exterior skin of the rear and side Disadvantages barrier shall be constructed of stainless steel with a slight corru- gated texture. It shall be constructed so as to prevent unauthorized entry or intrusion into the operator's area, yet allow the operator to Bus operator perspective--feelings of confinement, glare converse with passengers. All passenger seat positions shall be and reflection, noise. visible to the operator either directly or by mirror. The barrier shall Customer service--communication barrier between not hinder the operator's performance in any manner. It shall not be a source of any rattling or noise. A door, which can be secured operators and customers, operators may be less able to from the inside, shall allow for easy access into and out of the assist customers with fare payment. operator's area. The handle to open the enclosure door shall be Perception of security--public and passenger percep- flush-mounted so that clothing or other articles cannot be caught on it. The upper portion of the enclosure door shall be a fixed 1/2 tion of bus security may diminish: if barriers are needed polycarbonate window [that] must not interfere with the opera- to protect bus operators, the passengers may start to tor's view through the front windshield or the rearview mirrors. question their own security. The window shall be covered on both sides with a removable, clear scratch guard, Lexan Nu-View or approved equivalent. Operator's area trim must be satin black. Agency Experience MiamiDade Transit, Miami, Florida San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, California MiamiDade Transit (MDT) is Florida's largest transit agency, serving Miami, the fifth largest urbanized area in The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SF the United States. Some 741 buses delivered 29.2 million MUNI) in San Francisco, which carries 200 million customers annually, is another early adopter of barriers. The implemen- revenue-miles and produced more than 83 million passenger tation of the barriers took place with the input of MUNI's trips in 2007. MDT's bus enclosures were deployed as a operators. They are currently installed on 10% of the buses response to a rash of assaults in the late 1990s. The assaults and are available at the request of the operator (see Fig- involved punching, spitting, and urine being thrown at the ures 15 and 16). MUNI bus operators are satisfied with them. operator. MDT noted that the barriers were their most effec- No study has been done by MUNI with regard to the actual tive security measure against bus operator assault and men- effectiveness of the barriers at preventing operator assaults. tioned that "the compartment door provides only partial protection, but serves as a good deterrent." The partial enclo- sure, shown in Figure 14, is attached to the operator's mod- Milwaukee County Transit System, esty panel in the form of a hinged door made of metal and Milwaukee, Wisconsin Plexiglas. The enclosures cost $1,600 to $1,900 per bus, including installation, and are built into each bus purchased The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) serves the by MDT according to its specifications. city of Milwaukee and its suburbs, and has 429 buses and

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35 FIGURE 15 SF MUNI barrier. (Courtesy: SF MUNI.) FIGURE 16 SF MUNI barrier, upper portion. (Courtesy: SF MUNI.) operates 55 routes. In 2008, average weekday ridership was 1.2 million in Rochester, New York. The Authority has a 400- 140,000. MCTS has been testing operator barriers, with the bus fleet, 800 employees, and an annual ridership of 15 mil- MCTS Maintenance Director leading this program. With input lion. RGRTA has installed barriers in some of its buses, as from its bus operators, the agency developed the prototype, shown in Figures 18 and 19, in response to the homicide of an ordered supplies, and constructed and installed 25 barriers on operator. The cost of the barrier was $1,317 per bus, includ- MCTS buses in March 2009. The shields, which cost $650 ing installation. One manufacturer used by RGRTA was able each, were evaluated by more than 600 bus operators over a to provide the barriers according to RGRTA's specifications, 6-month period. A survey of operators and passengers indi- whereas another was not able to. RGRTA has also fabricated cated that the shield needed to be extended, the latch needed its own barrier for its newly acquired articulated buses. The improvement, and a magnetic catch installed to reduce vibra- RGRTA mandates use of the barrier and discourages the tie- tion of the shields. Glare concerns were expressed by 40% back of the barrier, which its operators do at times with of the survey respondents, even though an adhesive glare- garbage bags. control window film had been added. To address these con- cerns, the barriers were extended by 18 in., the angle of the bar- rier was changed, and vertical slots were added, as shown in NYC Transit, New York, New York Figure 17. The slots are expected to improve noise and ventila- tion issues. The improved prototypes were developed and eval- New York City Transit (NYCT), the largest transit agency uated in September 2009. Although the glare concern had been in the United States, operates more than 4,500 buses, has addressed, the union requested further changes to the hinge and 12,500 bus stops, 208 local and 36 express routes, and magnetic latch. Further testing is currently being conducted. serves 2.3 million customers on an average weekday in New York City's five boroughs. After the brutal murder of bus operator Edwin Thomas by a passenger angry about not Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation receiving a transfer, NYCT decided to test operator shields. Authority, Rochester, New York In 2009, several NYCT buses in the Flatbush Depot were outfitted with test barriers from different manufacturers The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority developed with input from a safety committee of about (RGRTA) serves a seven-county area with a population of 15 operators from the TWU Local 100. The latest test barrier

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36 FIGURE 19 Rochester Genesee RTA barrier, open. (Courtesy: Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority.) uncomfortable and had feelings of claustrophobia. The Local did not consider any of the tested barriers to be fully effective against assaults because there is space above the farebox area that makes it possible for an assailant to attack the opera- tor. Therefore, the Local prefers implementation of a full enclo- sure, similar to the one used in Lisbon, Portugal, which offers operators the option of keeping it open. As shown in the photos in Figures 20 to 22, this barrier is a full enclosure extending from the floor of the bus to its ceiling. It has a sliding partition, FIGURE 17 Milwaukee County Transit System prototype barrier with slots. (Courtesy: Milwaukee County Transit System.) allowing the operator the option of keeping the enclosure open or opening a small "window" to assist and interact with pas- sengers, and provide transfers. The "window" moves up and is made of glass because the factory producing Plexiglas sus- down at the option of the bus operator. It is usually left open pended production. The testing of the glass barrier has been until a threat is perceived by the bus operator; then it is closed, completed and the procurement process is slated to begin soon. and the police called if needed. NYCT plans to install these barriers on all new buses, although older ones may be retrofitted. Once installed, the barriers will be mandatory. The operator feedback was mixed, with some Coast Mountain Bus Company, feeling more secure with the barriers, whereas others felt British Columbia, Canada Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC) provides 700,000 daily trips on 201 bus routes and serves the 1,800-km2 Greater Vancouver region, the largest transit service area in Canada. The key issue for CMBC has been the glare in oper- ator mirrors caused by the barriers. Secondary issues for operators have included the reduced ability of operators to communicate with passengers, ventilation restrictions, dis- comfort, and fear that they might become trapped. An agency concern was that barriers might cause operators to become more aggressive. The glare issue in operator mirrors was addressed by trimming the barriers. CMBC evaluated the New Flyer's prototype shield and determined that it does not have the capability to prevent assaults. The shield would have cost $1,000 to $1,200 each. CMBC has not been able to find a product meeting their needs despite extensive commu- nications and visits with other transit agencies and vendors. CMBC has decided to work directly with a plastics fabrica- FIGURE 18 Rochester Genesee RTA barrier, closed. (Courtesy: tion company to design a shield that will meet the agency's Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority.) specifications.