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68 encourages youth group trips to attractions along VIA bus operators and became an official city of Edmonton band routes by offering discounted fares. in 2005. The ETS Street Team showcases the transit life- style and its benefits, and new projects at ETS. The team also submits a monthly commentary article to Metro Rochester Genesee RTA, Rochester, New York News. The Donate-a-Ride program is a charitable initia- tive in which farebox donations throughout January and The Greater Rochester Community Transportation Founda- corporate donations throughout the year provide ETS tion, created by RGRTA in 2000, is the first foundation of its tickets to Edmonton agencies that assist individuals in kind (501-C-3, Type 1) in the United States established by a crisis situations. All proceeds of the popular Christmas transit agency to provide financial assistance for transporta- Lights Tours, for which ETS employees volunteer their tion to youth-oriented groups or organizations. This initiative time, go to the Donate-a-Ride program. The Read 'n fosters a positive image of RGRTA within the community Ride initiative is a partnership between ETS and the and among children and teenagers. GRCTF funds of about Edmonton Public Library to promote adult literacy and $100,000 have helped transport more than 7,500 children thus reward readers on ETS buses. When passengers are far to tutoring and support services, college tours, museum "caught" reading, they are rewarded with various prizes. visits, and sporting and other activities. For instance, Flower Stuff-a-Bus campaign--Each winter since 1995, ETS vol- City Soccer, with GRCTF funding, succeeded in getting more unteers collect food donations for Edmonton's Food than 2,000 inner-city children a year to Recreation Centers to Bank. Since its inception, the campaign has collected participate in soccer games, which keeps them off the streets. 247,902 kg of food and $297,773 in cash donations to RGRTA's HONOR Foundation is also the first of its kind in help feed Edmontonians in need. the nation. It is a nonprofit foundation created by a transit agency that assists customers who may experience challenges paying fare for Lift Line services and is based on the belief Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago, Illinois that, with the availability of dependable and affordable public transportation, individuals with disabilities can participate in CTA operates bus and rail transit systems and serves Chicago community life. More information about these foundations and 40 surrounding suburbs. CTA, one of the largest agencies can be found at RGRTA website www.rgrta.com. in the United States, makes more than 25,000 bus trips daily, and serves nearly 12,000 bus stops. Operator assaults are a continuing concern for the agency, with teens and preteens WMATA, Washington, D.C. instigating many of these assaults. On Halloween, high school students throw eggs and other objects at CTA bus operators. On Halloween, WMATA Metro's "Boo Bus," along with A few years ago, CTA began an initiative to address this issue WMATA police and employees in Halloween costumes and by starting a school outreach program at high schools. CTA McGruff the crime-fighting dog, entertains children at the sends representatives to area high schools with high numbers Anacostia Metrorail station and gives them Halloween treats. of incidents to speak to the students. The interior of the "Boo Bus" contains fake cobwebs, ghosts, and other Halloween decorations. This event is sup- King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Washington, has a ported by donations from Metro employees. This community detective assigned to address school issues and visit Seattle outreach activity promotes a positive image of WMATA and public schools. Pinellas Transit in St. Petersburg, Florida, its employees, and is an effort to discourage assaults and participates in the Great American Teach-In, which teaches pranks against bus operators on Halloween, when such inci- students what it is like to be a bus operator. Coast Mountain dents are common. Bus Company's Transit Police in British Columbia, Canada, visits the schools in their service area and discusses any con- cerns or issues with the students and principals. Toronto Edmonton Transit System, Alberta, Canada Transit Commission created a presentation on transit safety for sixth graders, who are also taught to behave and be School outreach--The annual First Riders program is de- respectful of others, especially the bus operators. Schools signed to provide travel and safety information to stu- call upon the agency to schedule this presentation. dents making the transition to junior high school, who will be taking public transit to school for the first time. A Grade 2 Slideshow presentation is offered to second OTHER POLICIES graders on the history of transportation in Edmonton. Community outreach--ETS participates in many commu- Other policies that are believed to mitigate operator assault nity outreach activities. A community fair is held annu- are peer feedback and remain-seated policies: ally. ETS participates in parades by providing ETS vin- tage and current buses and providing the Pipes and · Peer Feedback--Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto, Drums band. The band was initiated in 1964 by ETS Canada--TTC has been encouraging bus operators to
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69 engage in safe behaviors and to become more aware of · Operators-to-Remain-Seated Policy, Veolia, Las Vegas, any unsafe behaviors they may be practicing. This is Nevada--Veolia's policy for its bus operators in Las done through a peer feedback program on a "no-name, Vegas is for operators to remain seated when interact- no-blame" basis. TTC management worked closely ing with customers, which is believed to prevent some with the union to implement the program and identify operator assaults. Prior to the establishment of this pol- the 25 operators who would become peer observers. icy, many assaults occurred when operators decided to Feedback is provided by a peer observer to the bus pursue fare evaders or arose from their seat during a dis- operator immediately after a trip has been completed. pute to confront a passenger. Operators are now trained to An operatorfacilitator was appointed and trained on the remain in their seats even if provoked. Assaults includ- observation technique by a consultant. The facilitator ing punches and spitting still take place, but are fewer then trained the other operators. Operator injuries, in number than previously. Other agencies, such as Cal- including those caused by assaults, have decreased by gary Transit, also instruct their operators to remain 10% since the inception of this program in 2008. seated during customer service.