The May 25 murder of Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus driver Thomas Dunn rattled Bay area bus authorities, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is no longer putting the issue of its drivers’ safety on the backburner.
In a release, PSTA CEO Brad Miller said that his drivers will be protected by an extended, tempered glass cover that’s even larger than the one the PSTA has been testing for the better part of a year. The news comes a week after members of the Service Employees International Union urged the PSTA to protect its drivers.
All 210 PSTA buses will be outfitted with the safety barrier. The company manufacturing them could take four to six weeks, and the cost will be $4,000-$5,000 per bus or $840,000 to $1.05 million in total. The TBBJ wrote that the PSTA’s finance department and CFO are evaluating ways to fund the glass shields. All safety improvements should be done by the end of October.
“The safety of our drivers has been and always will be our top priority at the PSTA,” PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller said. “They are who we are, and we will do everything in our power to support them and make sure they feel safe while serving our community. After hearing from our drivers last week, that they felt scared to go to work and feared for their own lives, we knew we had to act as quickly possible. When it comes to keeping our drivers safe, we must move at lightning speed."