NY: Transit Workers: Attacks Neglected

Attacks on bus drivers are up, but they're not the only ones suffering at the hands of criminals. Attacks on all transit workers are up 17 percent across the MTA, agency heads revealed yesterday at a City Council hearing.

"If two fireman were being assaulted every week, they would call in the National Guard," said John Samuelsen, president of the Transit Workers Union, which represents MTA workers.

The TWU is calling for increased NYPD presence on buses and trains, as well as increased prosecution of people who assault workers.

Assault on a bus driver became a felony five years ago, but union workers say the city's district attorneys aren't prosecuting people to the fullest extent.

"There hasn't been one felony charge for assaulting a bus driver," said Samuelsen. "It's outrageous."

While the MTA is installing security cameras and shields to protect bus drivers, transit advocates say the MTA doesn't encourage employees to come forward and report incidents.

Subway station agent Abra Stephans, 30, says she was robbed in 2005, but that the MTA didn't believe her. She's now facing disciplinary charges for allegedly stealing $900; the MTA says they're still investigating her claim.

"They acted like I took it," said Stephans. "In the MTA, you're guilty until proven innocent."

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.

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