FTA Seeks Rule to Beef up Transit Worker Protections

The Federal Transit Administration is proposing updates to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans or PTASP rule that would “codify communication” between frontline transit workers and management; an important measure to address worker assaults.

[Above photo via the FTA]

The agency – which has been working on ways to beef up transit worker protections since 2021 – noted some of the requirements within its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or NPRM will only apply to transit agencies serving areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Those are areas that largely coincide with the biggest increases in reported transit worker assaults, FTA said.

The proposed rule also incorporates the statutory requirement that transit agencies serving small urbanized areas develop their agency safety plans in cooperation with frontline transit worker representatives, FTA noted.

The agency added that, according information compiled by the National Transit Database, there has been a 121 percent increase in transit worker assaults over the last few years.

Required changes to the PTASP rule would include: 

  • Establishing safety committees with equal numbers of frontline transit worker and management representatives to address concerns from workers and riders. The proposed rule provides new guidance on safety committee membership, procedures, and responsibilities.
  • Creating risk reduction programs to reduce accidents, injuries, and assaults on transit workers, and establishing annual targets based on measures FTA will establish in the National Public Transportation Safety Plan.
  • Risk reduction programs would include evaluating assaults on transit workers and vehicular/pedestrian safety risks and considering corrective strategies, such as installing bus driver shields or barriers.
  • Those risk reduction programs would also deploy certain assault mitigation measures when a risk analysis performed by the safety committee determines such measures would reduce assaults on transit workers.

“No one should go to work or ride transit worried that they won’t come home safely, and FTA is committed to making that ideal a reality,” saidFTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement.

“This proposed rule prioritizes worker safety and gives transit workers a greater voice in protecting themselves during the workday,” she added. “Updating this rule reflects the feedback FTA has received from the transit workforce across the country. Safer workers will mean a safer transit system and a safer ride for passengers.”

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