Biden-Harris Administration Takes Nationwide Step To Address Assaults On Transit Workers

With assaults on transit workers at an unacceptable level, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on the nation’s transit agencies to take further action to protect frontline workers.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently published a proposed General Directive on required actions regarding assaults on transit workers in the Federal Register that will allow it to better assess and address the risk frontline transit workers face,” according to a press release.

FTA encourages members of the public, transit agencies, and other interested parties to submit comments on the proposed General Directive, which will be open for 60 days until Feb. 20, 2024.

“Everyone deserves a safe workplace, including and especially the frontline transit workers who keep our nation moving,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Assaults on transit workers are unacceptable, and I look forward to working with leaders across the transit industry on ways to further enhance the safety of these essential workers.”

From 2008 to 2021, the National Transit Database documented an average of 241 reportable assault events on transit workers. These included 192 assaults per year occurring in or on transit vehicles, 44 per year in transit facilities, and five per year in 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,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. “This proposed General Directive is part of FTA’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to improve transit worker safety.”

“The General Directive proposes that transit agencies subject to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (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 (SMS) 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. For transit agencies serving a large, urbanized area, a safety committee, made up of equal parts management and transit labor representatives, is ultimately responsible for identifying and recommending these safety risk mitigations,” the release added. “Finally, the proposed General Directive requires each transit agency to provide information to FTA on how it is assessing, mitigating, and monitoring the safety risk associated with assaults on transit workers within 60 days of issuance of the final General Directive.”

For technical assistance resources to support safety risk assessment for assaults on transit workers, visit Using SMS to Protect Transit Workers from Assaults.

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