RTS, ATU plans to ensure safety for Gainesville bus drivers

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- There has been a national issue of bus drivers facing danger on the job and its no different in north central Florida.

The city of Gainesville and the Amalgamated Transit Union are working together to provide bus driver shields on buses that need the most protection.

In February, an RTS bus driver was physically assaulted in route from the Oaks Mall.

In May, a bus operator in Tampa had his throat slit while he was behind the wheel, bleeding to death in the driver's seat after managing to safely pull the bus to the side of the road.

“They've been exposed to physical attacks,” said Zefnia Durham III, President of local 1579 Amalgamated Transit Union. “They’ve been exposed to verbal attacks constantly and they've also been exposed to body fluids like spitting on and those types of issues also."

ATU and RTS management are collecting data and the funds to secure a driver's shield in the buses

The cost of the driver's shield is about $5,000 per bus.