FTA Issues General Directive on Transit Worker Protections

The Federal Transit Administration has published a proposed General Directive on required actions regarding assaults on transit workers in the Federal Register that the agency said will help it “better assess and address” the risks frontline transit workers face. The comment period on this directive is open through February 20, 2024.

[Above photo by FTA]

This General Directive – which builds off initiatives FTA announced in April 2023 – proposes that transit agencies subject to its Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans or PTASP regulation be required to conduct a safety risk assessment related to assaults on transit workers on the public transportation system they operate using the Safety Management System processes outlined in their Agency Safety Plan.

The proposed General Directive also requires each transit agency to identify safety risk mitigations or strategies necessary to improve transit worker safety based on its safety risk assessment.

Photo by the FTA

For transit agencies serving large urbanized areas, a safety committee – made up of equal parts management and transit labor representatives – is ultimately responsible for identifying and recommending these safety risk mitigations. 

From 2008 to 2021, FTA said the National Transit Database documented an average of 241 reportable assault events on transit workers annually. These include 192 assaults per year occurring in or on transit vehicles, 44 per year in transit facilities, and five per year in other non-public locations, such as maintenance shops and yards.  

“Each day, transit workers nationwide are responsible for moving millions of Americans to their jobs, schools, and other daily activities, and we must ensure that their safety remains a top priority,” noted FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement. “This proposed General Directive is part of FTA’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to improve transit worker safety.” 

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