CTA bus drivers, train operators demand more protection amid increase in violent attacks

March shut down downtown Michigan Ave. for few hours

Evelyn Holmes Image
Sunday, December 12, 2021
CTA workers calling for more protection amid increase in attacks
CTA workers rallied in Chicago's Loop Saturday calling attention to what they is an increase in violence against bus and train operators.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Michigan Avenue was shut down for a few hours Saturday as CTA workers looked to bring awareness about the violence they say they experience on their jobs nearly every day.

RELATED: More than 100 CTA bus and train operators protested in the loop demanding more protection as violent attacks against city transit worker continue.

CTA Red Line train operator injured in attack by 2 passengers on South Side

"I was robbed at gunpoint on my lunch," said driver Cordell Daniels.

"I've had to have counseling. I'm afraid to come to work," said driver Marian Lumpkin.

The afternoon rally was organized by the unions representing Chicago Transit Authority and comes a day after the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241, which represents bus drivers, agreed to partner with a local activist to provide security guards along certain route hot spots.

"We're tired. Our members are tired of coming to work and not feeling like they are safe," said Eric Dixon, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 president.

With the support of several other local labor unions, the group marched from City Hall to Millennium Park where they blocked traffic at Washington and Michigan for about 20 minutes.

That's the area where a CTA driver was shot in September and another stabbed in November.

Just last Saturday, a bus operator was physically attacked by an unruly group of mostly teens who were arrested.

RELATED: CTA bus driver beaten in Loop; boy, 15, charged, Chicago police say

"He got arrested, got released by his parents, skipped court," said Keith Hill, Local 241 president

The unions want stiffer penalties for assaults on CTA workers, along with the ability to ban someone from CTA property and for the transit agency to AGAIN have its own police force.

Union officials say their internal numbers show roughly 400 assaults on CTA operators.

They say that's more than double from last year. In an emailed statement, a CTA spokesperson said the safety and security of our employees is our top priority adding that they show a

20% drop in crime this year compared to last year following a 41% reduction in transit crime from 2019 to 2020.

The agency also has plans to deploy its own unarmed security guards and is expanding their patrols next year.

Meanwhile, unions say the problem continues and the rallies will too.