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The prevention of an assault begins with the transit agencyâs hiring process. The requirements for being a successful bus operator are many and include not only good driving skills but also interpersonal and communications skills. The right tem- perament, ability to handle stressful situations, and ability to communicate with diverse populations are essential. Good candidates can be identified through objective and compre- hensive bus operator selection systems. APTAâs BOSS and CUTAâs STRADA systems are discussed in this chapter. Policing is an effective bus operator protection method. Uniformed officers providing visible security are a strong deterrent against all types of crime, including passenger assault of bus operators. Plainclothes officers can witness crimes being committed and apprehend the perpetrators. Fast and effective response to an assault can mitigate its conse- quences by preventing further injuries and through the pro- vision of timely medical attention. Furthermore, fare evaders and perpetrators of minor violations often progress to more serious crimes, including operator assault; targeting them is believed to mitigate crimes on operators. Operator training in customer relations, conflict mitiga- tion, diversity, stress management, and verbal techniques such as verbal judo is vital for new bus operators in facing the daily challenges of their job. Refresher training for current operators is important as well in preventing operator assaults. Self-defense training and tools provide bus operators with a protection measure that is immediately available to the oper- ator during an attack. No matter how fast responders arrive on the scene, even a few minutes can be enough to cause significant injury to the operator. At the same time, agencies are concerned about liability issues and the reluctance of its operators to carry self-defense tools. If an agency does choose to implement self-defense training or issue a self- defense tool, the reason for its use and assurance regarding its safety will help agencies justify the security measure to the public. Also note that weapons carry and acquisition laws differ on a state-by-state basis. In states with more permis- sive laws, operators may believe themselves to be more vul- nerable and may be more willing to use self-defense tools and techniques to assure themselves of their own security, and agencies may be more willing to implement self-defense training and tools. Houston METRO is the only U.S. agency, as of the date of this report, that issues a self-defense tool to its operators. One agency, Metro Transit in Minnesota, 48 does offer pepper spray training to operators who request it. Both agencies operate in âshall-issueâ states for concealed firearmsâthe granting authorities have no discretion over per- mit applications, and must automatically issue permits to their residents if minimum criteria are met. Oleoresin capsicum, the main ingredient in pepper sprays and gels, irritates the skin, eyes, and the upper respiratory tract. It is considered to be gen- erally safer than other nonlethal tools and effective in subdu- ing violent individuals and stopping assailants. Questions, however, have been raised regarding its effectiveness on indi- viduals under the influence of narcotics and alcohol, and few scientific safety studies have been performed. Permitted con- centrations and allowable use vary by state in the United States. It is not permitted for use in Canada. Some agencies provide self-defense training to their operators in the use of pepper sprays and gels. BUS OPERATOR SELECTION The prevention of assaults starts in the agencyâs hiring process. In order to identify the best bus operator candidates, understanding what âsuccessâ is, what characteristics and other factors lead to âsuccess,â and how to identify these characteristics and factors is important. An individual who is skilled at handling stressful situations and at interacting with the public would be less likely to be the victim of an assault as a bus operator. Recruiting the wrong candidate is costly to the agency. If a candidate decides to leave in the middle of the training program, screening and hiring another candidate takes time and resources. If candidates stay and perform badly, they may endanger their own lives and the lives of their pas- sengers and expose the agency to liability suits. The Bus Operator Selection System (BOSS), developed by APTA and its member transit systems and training direc- tors, U.S.DOT, U.S. Department of Labor, and EB Jacobs, consists of a preemployment screening survey and a struc- tured interview process. The survey contains 75 questions and is administered online or through paper-and-pencil tests. Immediate results are available for the online system. The optional structured interview process is a set of standardized questions and behaviorally anchored rating scales linked to elements of the bus operatorâs job. The transit agencyâs HR personnel are instructed to focus on certain questions based on each candidateâs survey results. The annual fee for BOSS, CHAPTER FIVE OPERATOR PROTECTION METHODS: PERSONNEL, POLICING, AND TRAINING
49 including BOSS and eBOSS platform access, access to BOSS scores and online reports, program updates, and two hours of support is $1,000 per property; additional support is available for purchase. The scoring fee for the set of customer service, attendance, safety, and honesty measures is $13.50 per candidate. The interview tool includes standardized ques- tions, rating scales to assess different performance dimen- sions, training materials, and 3 h of phone support. The fee is $1,800 for individual properties, $1,500 per property within a group of four to nine properties, or $1,200 per property for 10 or more properties. Additional support and on-site training are also available at additional cost. A study of more than 800 bus operators hired using the BOSS system was performed by APTA. An average of seven fewer missed days per oper- ator and 20% fewer accidents per year was expected. Also, a savings of $2,500 per operator in the first yearâs costs was estimated by transit agencies. The savings consisted of diminished absenteeism and tardiness, reductions in accident/ incident liability, reductions in training dropouts, and the need to interview fewer candidates. The STRADA Toolkit is another example of a comprehen- sive operator selection system. It was initiated by the transit industry in 2007 based on a CUTA survey that showed that qualified bus operator candidates were being screened out using existing hiring techniques. The STRADA system was developed with the input of many transit human resources pro- fessionals and extensive research across North America to eliminate bias or discrimination in the hiring process. CUTAâs testing partner, Assess Systems of Dallas, Texas, regularly monitors the results and upgrades the test as required. The STRADA Toolkit includes the following elements: â¢ Competency Modeling identifies the actual core job competencies necessary for success as a transit bus operator. â¢ Effective Interviewing Techniques result in greater knowledge of the candidate, which then leads to a more informed hiring decision. â¢ Comprehensive Candidate Assessments allow transit systems to find individuals who are the best âfitâ for operator positions. The new STRADA assessment survey was developed and validated with current bus operators in 15 transit systems across Canada. Advantages â¢ Agency perspectiveâStandardized, objective, and con- sistent process is likely to result in a fair and faster hiring process and the selection of individuals most likely to suc- ceed as bus operators. Selecting the wrong candidate can be costly: (1) if the candidate decides to leave after under- going training or (2) if the candidate stays but performs poorly, he or she can become a liability for the agency. â¢ Bus operator perspectiveâhiring individuals with the appropriate temperament means higher likelihood of job satisfaction. Agency Experience Canadian Urban Transit Association The STRADA Recruitment Toolkit, developed by CUTA in conjunction with Assess Systems, is designed to increase the probability of selecting the best candidates for the position of bus operator. The Toolkit includes prescreening and realistic job previews, testing, and interviewing. As part of its STRADA Toolkit, CUTA created a bus operator competency frame- work. Competency areas within the framework included cus- tomer service (interpersonal communication, problem-solving competency, safety and emergency response), professional image and work environment, vehicle monitoring and driving, and personal management. A customized situational judgment module provides candidates with realistic situations they are likely to encounter (e.g., customer complaint) and asks them to identify the best and worst responses to the situation. Informa- tion gathered from experts and job observations were used to select the set of 20 scenarios. Each agency receives a review of its HR process, and agency personnel participate in a 2-day Train the Interviewer training session. There is a one-time sub- scription fee that includes the Toolkit along with the training session and ongoing access to testing and support. The cost is determined by agency size and ranges from $7,500 to $30,000. Because the STRADA has not yet been extensively imple- mented, its precise impact on the reduction of the number of operator assaults is not yet known. However, agencies that pur- chase the Toolkit anticipate significant benefitsâEdmonton Transit System, for example, expects annual savings of almost $200,000 a year. NYC Transit, New York, New York NYC Transit participated in the development of APTAâs Bus Operator Selection System (BOSS) and now uses the system to select bus operators. The BOSS has led to a more qualified set of bus operators and has significantly reduced bus acci- dents. Also, all new hires are included in an extensive evalua- tion review program. Once operators depart the training center and are assigned to their initial depot, they are monitored and have interaction with supervision on a monthly basis, up to their 1-year probationary period. Their job performance may lead to dismissal or an extended probationary time. Winnipeg Transit, Manitoba, Canada Winnipegâs Bus Operator Selection System consists of five steps. Bus operator candidates must meet the standard on each step before they can proceed onto the next step. The candidates demonstrating the greatest potential are offered positions at Winnipeg Transit. Step 1 is the initial application and public relations test. Fifty scenes of bus operators inter- acting with the public are shown to the candidate by means of video. The candidate needs to choose the best response to the situation. In Step 2, a study guide is provided to the can- didate to help the candidate prepare for the written test. The test consists of 75 multiple-choice questions in the following
areas: knowledge of the city of Winnipeg; knowledge of the Manitoba Driverâs Handbook; ability to work with money, time, and schedules; and the ability to learn policy and proce- dure. Step 3 is the driving aptitude test. Step 4 consists of a competency-based interview, criminal records investigation, reference checks, and medical examination. The interview questions are based on the following competencies: Citizen and Customer Focus; Respecting Diversity, Ethics, and Values; Integrity and Trust; Results Oriented; Composure; Patience; Approachability; Compassion; Informing; Humor; Listening; Time Management; Conflict Management; and Work/Life Balance. Step 5 is the operator selection process in which the candidates with the greatest potential will be selected. POLICING Uniformed officers are very effective in preventing operator assaults and other crimes. At the same time, it is cost- prohibitive for officers to ride every bus on every route. There- fore, a strategic allocation of resources to high-crime locations and routes is important to enable rapid response to crime and to identify and capture offenders. Use of plainclothes officers on board buses is effective in apprehending offenders and get- ting them out of the system. Marked vehicle patrols can serve as a visible deterrent to crime and can shadow buses on routes with high numbers of incidents. Larger systems have their own transit police or security personnel and do ride checks and inspect buses for problems. Some agencies reimburse local law enforcement or use off-duty officers for protection. Smaller agencies without their own police or security person- nel need to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure good response when incidents and crimes occur. Many agen- cies allow officers to ride their system free of charge. Agencies that have their own officers or security use patrol and other policing techniques, including the following: â¢ Marked police vehicle patrolâMarked vehicle patrols enable quick response to crimes in progress along bus routes. â¢ Directed patrolâDirected patrols proceed to designated locations and board random buses to check on the well- being of the operator and the riding public. â¢ Park and rideâAn officer in a marked vehicle parks his or her vehicle at a terminal, boards a bus, and rides the bus until it returns to the terminal. â¢ Plainclothes operationsâUndercover officers may be assigned to patrol buses. Compared with uniformed officers, plainclothes officers are more likely to observe offenders in the act of committing a crime, including operator assault, fare evasion, and quality of life viola- tions such as vandalism. Targeting fare evaders and quality of life offenses have been shown to reduce the likelihood of more serious crimes. â¢ âTrojanâ busesâPlainclothes officers, appearing to be ordinary passengers, are assigned to ride buses equipped with reinforced windows. If an individual 50 throws a projectile at the bus or the bus operator, the bus is immediately stopped and the police apprehend the suspect. â¢ Bicycle and motorcycle patrolsâIn crowded locations and congested streets, the increased mobility of the bike or motorcycle patrol officer allows faster response to calls for assistance by the bus operator. â¢ Canine patrolâSome agencies utilize highly trained canine units for mobile patrols along designated bus routes. These units are often utilized to track down sub- jects who have assaulted operators and find evidence at a crime scene. â¢ Fixed post assignmentsâThese officers are assigned to secure key bus or intermodal terminals. Advantages â¢ Officers are specifically trained to prevent crime and enforce the law, respond to incidents, locate and appre- hend criminals, and understand the legal justice system. â¢ Visible patrols on foot or in squad cars deter crime and operator assaults, and enhance passenger perception of security. â¢ Plainclothes officers are able to apprehend suspects and criminals, taking them out of the system. â¢ Flexible deployment is possible; if there is a sudden increase in crime on certain bus routes, officers can eas- ily be redeployed to the routes. â¢ Officers patrolling the system can interact with the oper- ators and the public to obtain potentially important information about suspicious individuals, incidents, and activities, and get better situational awareness. Agency Experience Pierce Transit, Lakewood, Washington Pierce Transit serves a population of more than 710,000; its bus system consists of 929 buses and 37 light-rail trains. Pierce Transit formed the first official Transit Police Department (PD) in Washington State in 2006. Pierce Transit works collabora- tively with local law enforcement on various transit security initiatives. In 2009, Pierce Transit created the Uniformed Secu- rity Division with âSpecial Commissioned Officers,â a more cost-effective solution than its contracted services. Transit Police consists of the full-time unit with nine officers, and the off-duty unit with off-duty officers from the Tacoma and Lake- wood police departments. Pierce Transit has reduced the over- all criminal activity in the transit system, including operator assault, by more than 60% in the last 3 years as a result of the Pierce Transit Police Departmentâs successful implementation of initiatives including the following: â¢ Proactive enforcement teamâThe Proactive Enforce- ment Team focuses on problem-oriented policing methodologies and may work either in uniform or plain clothes, with marked or unmarked cars.
51 â¢ Emphasis patrolsâThese patrols are normally con- ducted in conjunction with other law enforcement agen- cies to focus on high-crime areas. â¢ Transit boarding teamsâThe Transit Boarding Teams are normally composed of plainclothes officers who ride a bus on a specific route that has been identified as a source of operator or employee assaults. The perpetra- tors are typically apprehended prior to an assault being committed. â¢ Passenger exclusion programâThis program was estab- lished to modify unacceptable behavior within the transit environment. The individual causing the disrup- tion is served with an exclusion order that lasts no less than 90 days and is also arrested if the situation warrants it. Edmonton Transit System, Alberta, Canada The ETS Security force consists of 47 peace officers. They are organized into six teams of seven Community Peace Offi- cers along with two Security Call Takers/Dispatchers, pro- viding 24-h coverage, 7 days a week. One team is on duty during days and two teams are on duty during evenings. Four marked patrol units are available for their use. Officer duties include passenger security and safety, order maintenance, patrolling the system (visibility and deterrence), and ensuring that passengers are in possession of âProof of Payment.â ETS officers are peace officers equipped with expandable batons and pepper spray but do not carry a firearm. Since they are not allowed to pursue criminal investigations or make arrests, they work closely with the local Edmonton police force to ensure that offenders are arrested and prosecuted. ETS Secu- rity has an information management systemâincluding a daily crime forecastâwhich assists deployment of resources to hot spots, and a performance management system based on CompStat. Also, ETS officers, shown in Figure 26, commu- nicate with ETS operators frequently to address potential problems and issues. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, Massachusetts After violent incidents on MBTAâs Routes 23 and 28, the MBTA is now formally escorting buses through high-crime neighborhoods, and has placed more transit officers on its most notorious line, Route 28. Transit police follow the roughly 16 buses that travel the route and monitor live video feeds; this allows officers to immediately address incidents and potential crimes and the flexibility to focus on crowded buses. Officers also ride the route during peak afternoon hours, when high school students head home and there is an increase in the number of incidents. In October 2010, MBTA Transit Police started visiting bus garages on an informal monthly basis to communicate with bus operators about security and safety concerns, and any problematic issues on their routes. This allows the MBTA Transit Police to antici- pate problems and address both serious and minor crimes. A poster from the outreach program is shown in Figure 27. SELF-DEFENSE TOOLS As of the time of this report and as far as the contractor team is aware, the only agency in the United States and Canada issuing self-defense tools to bus operators is the Houston METRO. Houston METRO has been issuing pepper gel and providing training on its use to its operators on a voluntary basis. Note that in Canada, pepper spray, along with pepper gel, is classified as a prohibited weapon. In the United States, state laws regulating its use and the permitted concentration and range of use vary. Liability is a significant concern for transit agencies as well as for operators themselves. Without witnesses or video or audio recording of an attack, it may be difficult to prove that the bus operator was defending himself FIGURE 26 ETS officers communicate with ETS operators. (Courtesy: Edmonton Transit System.) FIGURE 27 MBTA Transit Police outreach to MBTA operators. (Courtesy: MBTA.)
or herself. Also, appropriate use of the tool (using it effec- tively without excessive force) requires good judgment. Comprehensive training by qualified experts is required to ensure that operators know how and when to use this self- defense tool. In addition, bus operators need to be instructed on basic legal issues involved with the use of the tool and any potential liability that their agency and they themselves could face. These liability issues also apply to self-defense. Union and operator perspective is that this type of responsi- bility is the domain of law enforcement and, thus far, a small percentage of Houston METROâs operators have decided to carry the pepper gel. It can be noted that Texas is a âshall- issueâ state for concealed firearms, meaning the state has a liberal permit-granting policy; its granting authority has no discretion and is required to automatically issue a concealed carry permit to any applicant meeting minimum criteria. Metro Transit bus operators in Minneapolis have effectively and appropriately used pepper spray against attackers in sev- eral instances. One of the survey respondents (also located in Texas) noted that their bus operators are allowed to carry short blades because the agency considers them to be more of a tool rather than a weapon. Metro Transit provides training to bus operators on pepper spray, though Metro Transit does not directly issue the canister to its operators. Minnesota, like Texas, is a âshall-issueâ state for concealed firearms. Advantages â¢ Bus operator perspectiveâIncreased perception of secu- rity and management support for operators, especially in states with more lenient weapons purchase and carry laws; the tool can be optional for operators. â¢ Agency perspectiveâEase of procurement and deploy- ment. â¢ Of the less-than-lethal options, pepper spray and pepper gel are based on OC, which is generally effective in subduing violent individuals from a distance; physical contact with the assailant would not be needed for self- defense. Pepper gel is water-based, cannot be inhaled, and is appropriate in a tubular environment. Disadvantages â¢ Agency perspectiveâimproper use of the tool may expose the agency to lawsuits and negative publicity and may potentially encourage operators to be more aggressive with customers. â¢ Bus operator perspectiveâimproper use of the tool may expose the bus operator to lawsuits or even criminal charges; some operators may view the tool as another element that the operator needs to learn how to use and take responsibility for. â¢ Transit agency experience with the tool is limited. 52 â¢ With pepper spray and pepper gel, there is risk of cross- contamination (splatter on operator and passengers); this is minimal for pepper gel, but still possible; also, effec- tiveness may diminish when used against those under the influence of drugs or alcohol or mentally disturbed individuals. Agency Experience Houston METRO, Houston, Texas The decision to issue a self-defense tool was made by Hous- ton METRO after the need for increased bus operator protec- tion was determined. Though METRO has its own transit police, its service area is large and affects METROâs response times to emergencies. After conducting research into basic self-defense training, pepper spray/gel, the kubotan, and taser, METRO selected the pepper gel. METROâs objective is to give bus operators the option to carry the pepper gel, which is to be used in times of conflict only after every attempt to resolve the situation has been exhausted, including verbal de- escalation, and if the bus operator believes a threat of bodily injury from a capable source exists. Operators who elect to carry the pepper gel are required to carry only METRO-issued pepper gel canisters and to complete the training developed and provided by METRO. Agency experience with the tool is limited because no METRO bus operator has used the pepper gel in any instance. Thus far, only 36 of approximately 1,500 bus operators, or 2.5%, have elected to carry the pepper gel and undergo training. However, there has been increasing interest from bus operators and an agreement has been reached with the union to train all new bus operators in the use of the pepper gel during their orientation phase, and then pro- vide them with the option of carrying it after they have com- pleted the training. Guidelines for the use of pepper gel by METROâs bus operators are summarized in this section. The full text of the guidelines is provided in Appendix A. The pep- per gel is to be used for defensive purposes only, and operators must make every effort to neutralize or avoid potentially vio- lent situations through verbal and nonverbal tactics, including retreat, before using the tool. Metro Transit, Minneapolis, Minnesota Metro Transit offers pepper spray training to its bus opera- tors who choose to carry pepper spray. Of Metro Transitâs 1,400 operators, 100 have undergone pepper spray training, which is available to operators who request it. This training is provided by a law enforcement training and consulting group. To undergo training, operators need to agree to background checks and purchase training materials, and must retrain every two years. Operators have successfully used the pepper spray to defend themselves against assault in several incidents. There have been no customer complaints with regard to the use of the tool. The cost of the pepper gel is $19.95 per canis-
53 ter. In large quantities, the cost can be reduced by 50% or more. Each canister has a shelf life and warranty of 4 years. SELF-DEFENSE TRAINING Self-defense training for bus operators has been implemented by some agencies. Because self-defense can subject the agency and the user of the techniques to civil or criminal liability, it is important to have an instructor with a law enforcement back- ground or, at a minimum, familiarity with the legal aspects of self-defense. Self-defense-from-a-seated-position training is provided to their operators by some transit agencies, such as Pierce Transit. Experts believe that it is the best self-defense position for operators because (1) the operator while on duty is usually in the seated position; (2) there is only one angle from which the operator can be attacked when seated; (3) in such position, it is more difficult for the attacker to knock an opera- tor down; and (4) emergency communications is within reach of the seated operator. Agencies that have not implemented self-defense training have not done so owing to potential liabil- ity issues. TTC, for instance, decided not to provide self- defense training to its bus operators because of liability concerns. Although some operators believe that their responsi- bilities should not include physical self-defense because they are not police officers, others are eager to avail themselves of the training. The two U.S. transit agencies discussed in the self- defense training profile summaries operate in âshall-issueâ states for concealed firearms, Washington and Kansas. These states are also considered permissive, open carry friendly states. Advantages â¢ Bus operator perspectiveâincreased perception of security, empowerment, and management support for operators. â¢ Customer perspectiveâbecause the self-defense train- ing is not visible, unlike self-defense tools, customers may not experience an increased concern for their secu- rity on their route. â¢ Ease of deploymentâtraining content and format may be based on existing training being provided to bus operators or on self-defense classes being provided to airline personnel. Disadvantages â¢ Use of self-defense techniques is hands-on and may expose operators to further attacks and incite assailants to increase the intensity of the attacks. â¢ Training is required, including refresher training. â¢ Bus operator perspectiveâfeelings that enforcement- type actions are not be a part of his or her job, discom- fort with this type of training; improper use of the technique may expose the bus operator to lawsuits or even criminal charges; some operators may view it as another element that the operator needs to learn about and take responsibility for. â¢ Agency perspectiveâpotential for increased operator aggression towards customers, increased risk of agency liability. Agency Experience Pierce Transit, Lakewood, Washington Pierce Transitâs police department provides self-defense- from-a-seated-position training to its bus operators. The train- ing, developed by a police officer, consists of handouts, a quiz, and a video. The training is mandatory for bus operators, but the physical portion is voluntary to ensure that operators do not aggravate any existing condition. Typically, most operators do participate in the physical portion of the training. Physical self- defense has been used about 10 times by Pierce Transit bus operators during the past 20 years. The self-defense technique has been used properly, and no lawsuits have been filed as a result of its use. Defensive techniques are demonstrated in the classroom using chairs similar to bus seats. Students perform the tech- niques initially in the classroom, and on the four types of buses driven by operators. The training also involves how to reduce fear, importance of wearing the right types of shoes, and importance of physical fitness. Demonstrations of the rear hammer fist, back elbow, palm heel strike, knee-shin-toe, and kicking, as well as proper use of the bus controls are also pro- vided. This self-defense training has been taught by Pierce Transit instructors not only to Pierce Transit bus operators but to operators at several other transit agencies as well. Transit Authority of River City, River City, Kentucky Self-defense training is provided by a martial arts and tae kwan do instructor who works as a contractor for TARC. The 3-h training class is provided to new operators. Current operators receive refresher training on a periodic basis. Much of the training focuses on the ability of the operators to defend themselves from a seated position. This training was initiated about 2 years ago and was chosen as a security measure over barriers and compartments, which were viewed by TARC as a possible hindrance to customer ser- vice and operations. TARC has a relatively high number of wheelchair passengers, and a barrier or compartment would impede the operatorâs ability to serve them in a speedy man- ner and could cause service delays, diminishing the reliabil- ity of TARC service. The cost of the training is $300 per 3-h class; the number of participants allowed in each class is unlimited.
Calgary Transit, Alberta, Canada Calgary Transitâs âOut of the Blueâ course objective is to provide operators with the skills to create a safe and secure workplace by recognizing and managing conflict. The course elements are perspective, recognition, understanding, and support/follow-up. Instruction on several defensive maneu- vers from a seated position is provided to operators, who are advised to stay in their seat at all times, if possible, while in customer service. Operators are encouraged to practice the self-defense techniques on their own. What to do after an assault, including calling control, obtaining witness informa- tion, and reporting incidents are also taught. Of the operators participating in the course, 75% to 80% have provided a pos- itive assessment of the training. Calgary Transit received a CUTA award for Best New Project in 2007 for this course. Self-defense techniques are one of the several key elements of the course. The other portions of the courseâperspective, recognition, and understandingâseek to instruct operators on ways in which conflict situations might be defused before they escalate. The perspectives portion of the course provides oper- ator assault statistics and trends at the agency. The instructor discusses the different types of assaultsâverbal, physical, and sexualâand the three steps to managing the situationârecog- nition, understanding, and acting. In recognition, operators are taught to use all of their facultiesâincluding sight, hearing, smell, and past experiencesâand to take behavior, appear- ance, language/tone of voice, groups, and location/time of day into consideration to recognize potential conflict situations. In understanding, the operator is instructed on Calgary Transitâs policies and procedures, the legal definition of an assault, and what the options are in specific situations and what steps can be taken before, during, and after a conflict to avoid an assault. Each operator is required to carry Calgary Transitâs âRules and Procedures Manualâ at all times while on the job. In particular, understanding the following rules from the manual, believed to be important in minimizing customer disputes, is achieved during the course: â¢ Rule 806: operators shall not pursue fare disagreements with a customer to the point of confrontation and where personal safety may be jeopardized. â¢ Rule 714: when requesting customers to comply with Calgary Transit rules and policies, operators must be respectful and civil. If the customer fails to comply with the request, the operator shall not pursue the matter if doing so will jeopardize personal safety. â¢ Rule 101: operators must determine a safe course of action by using common sense and good judgment. â¢ Rule 403: operators shall not insist on the enforcement of rules to the point of conflict or get off the bus to pursue anyone for the purpose of a confrontation. The section of the course on acting includes passenger interaction techniques shown in Figures 28 and 29, specific 54 guidance on how to avoid or deter conflict, a discussion of per- sonal appearance, and treating customers with respect. Once a physical assault is imminent or has started, the operator is instructed to: â¢ Call control; â¢ Open both doors; â¢ Release seat belt; â¢ Not get out of seat unless moving to a point of safety; and â¢ Not leave the bus unless moving to a point of safety. Winnipeg Transit, Manitoba, Canada Winnipeg Transit provides a 1-day course on self-defense. The course adopted the âOut of the Blueâ training that was FIGURE 29 Calgary Transitâs Out of the Blue self-defense training. (Courtesy: City of Calgary 2005 Out of the Blue presentation.) FIGURE 28 Calgary Transitâs Out of the Blue self-defense training. (Courtesy: City of Calgary 2005 Out of the Blue presentation.)
55 originally developed by Calgary Transit. The first half of the day focuses on assault prevention trainingârecognizing disturbed/intoxicated individuals, how to deal with problem- atic passengers and conflict situations, verbal judo and de- escalation techniques. During the second half of the course, bus operators practice physical self-defense techniques. All of Winnipegâs 1,100 operators have undergone the training. Note that Winnipeg does not have its own police or security personnel. CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING Customer service training is an extremely important aspect of assault prevention because some incidents can be avoided through specific operator behaviors. Maintaining a profes- sional demeanor at all times and staying calm in stressful situations are important. Training can teach operators per- sonal de-stressing techniques. A bus operator trained in verbal judo or de-escalation techniques can calm a hostile customer and defuse a potentially violent situation. Bus oper- ators need to know and understand how to apply agency rules and regulations. The FTA administers a variety of bus operator training, including customer relations and safety and security training, through the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI), the National Transit Institute (NTI), Johns Hopkins University, and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center at low cost or no cost to transit agencies. Many transit agencies have taken advantage of these training opportunities. Some of the larger agencies have developed an internal training division that delivers various classes to bus operators. Also, transit police may develop and deliver security-related training to bus operators. The TSI train-the-trainer Instructorâs Course in Bus Opera- tor Training is a 4-day course that teaches participants to train qualified, professional bus operators. At a cost of $100 per par- ticipant, instructors are trained in presentation and creative learning techniques; facilitation methods; and adult learning principles in customer relations, vehicle operations, and emer- gency management. Upon completion, the participants are certified by the U.S.DOT to train bus operators. The Transit Ambassador Program is a comprehensive training course on customer service for transit employees and managers. The program, designed by CUTA, is a Train-the- Trainer (TTT) certification course that allows agencies to deliver the program themselves once their staff has been cer- tified. About 50 Canadian agencies, 35 U.S. agencies, and 20 European and Australian agencies are using the program. The feedback from agency managers and transit workers regarding the program has been positive. The program started in the 1980s and was updated and revised in 2007. The four core modules of the program are the âessentials of customer serviceâ module, âeffective communicationsâ module, âman- aging customer feedbackâ module, and âmanaging stressâ module. Bus operators are taught using a combination of tech- niques, including interactive discussions with bus operators, basic instruction, and video. Also, real-life scenarios are brought into the modules. Advantages â¢ Reduces likelihood of disputes. â¢ Increases overall customer satisfaction. â¢ Frequency of training may be increased if necessary for operators needing more training. Agency Experience Pierce Transit, Lakewood, Washington The agency instructs operators about policies and procedures, workplace violence policy, and use of force policy. They are taught to be respectful, courteous, and informative, and to make a reasonable effort to collect the fare. Pierce Transit pro- vides operators with a booklet that describes rules for bus safety, which they may provide to passengers. The booklet includes a comprehensive list of Pierce Transitâs ârules of the roadâ code of conduct. The training includes interactive dis- cussions about various scenarios (e.g., short fare). Operators are asked to describe potential actions they might take and the consequences of the actions. The training also includes pro- cedures on what to do in emergencies and when and how to use the silent alarm. Operators are advised to report all inci- dents and suspicious activity, and if a firearm is sighted, they are instructed to use a specific radio code to report it but warned not to challenge the passenger. Assault prevention and robbery and theft prevention tips are also provided to the operators. Assault prevention tips include: âremain seated when interacting with customers,â âdo not detain or trap indi- viduals inside the bus,â âonce a passenger has exited the bus âlet it go.â â NYC Transit, New York, New York NYCT has a comprehensive training program for new opera- tors as well as refresher training for existing operators. Because most assaults against NYCT operators are the result of fare disputes, the agency believes that addressing fare dis- putes and mitigating them will help prevent operator assault. Operators are taught that the first priority is safe, reliable, and efficient bus service, and the second priority is collecting rev- enue. Operators are presented with various realistic scenarios during training courses, including passengers who refuse to pay their fare, who violate other agency policies, and are rude or challenging. They are then asked to respond to these diffi- cult situations. Operators are taught to use their judgment, to simply state the fare or other rule being violated, and allow fare evaders and other rule violators to continue to ride the
bus. In the past, operators were expected to challenge passen- gers who did not pay the proper fare. However, this led to con- frontations with passengers, causing them to become verbally or physically aggressive toward the operator. Therefore, the operators are now taught to let the rider know that he or she is aware of the situation, but are taught to avoid conflicts and confrontations. A recommended phrase to address potential fare evaders is âExcuse me, sir. The fare is _____.â NYCT operators are instructed to keep track of fare evaders, and if there is rampant fare evasion by multiple persons, the opera- tor would be expected to contact the Bus Command Center through radio or silent alarm. If the same individual engages in fare evasion multiple times, the operator is also expected to report this to supervision. Operators are reminded not to take the bus out of service or argue with the passenger. If, however, the operator believes he or she is threatened, he or she is taught to proceed to the nearest bus stop, open the doors, and call the Command Center for assistance. Dur- ing training, bus operators are advised not to take personally anything the customer says, even if he or she starts yelling insults or slurs. To assist operators in improving their handling of conflict situations, operators participate in a conflict management program. The program participants learn about: â¢ How to define and understand conflict; â¢ Identifying the major causes of conflict; â¢ Identifying the difference between constructive and destructive conflict; â¢ Recognizing the signs of conflict; and â¢ Assessing and evaluating personal conflict approach. Operators are taught about the different styles of dealing with conflictâcompeting, accommodating, avoiding, collab- orating, and compromising. Although collaborating (both the operator and passenger work together to find a solution to the problem at hand) may be an ideal technique for other situa- tions, this can disrupt bus operations; therefore operators are taught to compromise, accommodate when necessary, and to avoid conflict at all cost. Communication techniques are taught in a 1-h training module that was created in 2008. As a supplement to their training, bus operators are provided with a comprehensive Guide to Customer Service. The Guide covers bus security; all key aspects of bus operations, including fare evasion and customer service issues; and what to do in case of an emergency. Coast Mountain Bus Company, British Columbia, Canada For operators involved in incidents, Coast Mountain bus oper- ators have been encouraged to attend a voluntary 2-day refresher course that includes a module on conflict resolution. The module includes a video with vignettes of various chal- 56 lenging situations commonly faced by operators. Although this training was suspended on January 1, 2010, the training was well received by those who had taken it. Comments from Survey Respondents Listed below are some of the training-related comments provided by survey respondents: â¢ âWe use every incident as a potential training opportu- nity. In approximately half of all assaults, the operator may have contributed to escalating a confrontation with the passenger.â â¢ âPrevention, for the most part, is in the control of the Operator. Bus Operators prevent assaults on a daily basis. Training is the only way to prepare an Operator for this type of event. The Bus Operator must know when to âlet it goâ and report the situation to a Supervisor or Officer.â â¢ âI believe many assaults can be prevented if the opera- tors had verbal skills to diffuse situations.â â¢ One respondent provides a caveat about violence- prevention training: âAfter training all the Bus Oper- ators in violence prevention, we realized that we were having an increase in assaults by Operators on cus- tomers! We are still not sure why, and this is currently not a problem. Perhaps we somehow, in our efforts to protect Operators, over-empowered them.â BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT TRAINING Security-related training has been encouraged at the federal level by the FTA and TSA and widely implemented by transit agencies since September 11, 2001. In addition to basic aware- ness training that emphasizes the importance of observation and reporting of suspicious activity, behavioral assessment training may also be useful in addressing passenger assault of bus operators. The University of Tennessee TO SPOT training became available in February 2008 and, according to the Uni- versity of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center, many employees of various agencies, including bus operators, have undergone training, although attendance information by organization is not available. The participants are taught to identify and report suspicious individuals, which may help in the apprehension of criminals. Because liability issues (e.g., racial/ethnic profiling) and questions of effectiveness of the techniques associated with use of behavioral assessment have been raised, consulting the transit agencyâs legal counsel is essential. TCRP Report 86, Volume 13, Public Transportation Passenger Security Inspections: A Guide for Policy Decision Makers contains a section discussing the legal implications of behavioral assessment. Advantages â¢ Short implementation time. â¢ Availability of training.
57 Disadvantages â¢ Possibility of racial/ethnic profiling claims. â¢ Its effectiveness has been questioned. Agency Experience Hampton Roads Transit, Hampton Roads, Virginia Hampton Roads Transit provides behavioral recognition-type training to all of its bus operators. Because bus operators are usually the first line of defense against criminals, Hampton Roads Transit believes that training them to recognize suspi- cious individuals is important and can mitigate operator assault, along with other crimes, by helping operators sharpen their observational skills and identifying criminals and taking them out of the system. Pinellas Transit, St. Petersburg, Florida Since February 2010, TO SPOT behavioral assessment train- ing has been provided to new Pinellas Transit bus operators by the University of Tennessee. Existing operators are also being trained, and, currently about half of all operators have been trained.