Metro Launches New Safety Initiatives After A Rise in Bus Driver Assaults

The transit agency is unveiling a tool riders can use to report suspicious activity.


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According to figures from Metro police, the number of bus driver assaults was up over 70% percent in 2015 after two years of declines. Fifty-two driver assaults have been reported so far this year. That’s up from 30 in 2014.

As for why there’s an increase, Metro Police Chief Vera Bumpers says it could be due to the fact there are simply more people coming to Houston. There could also be other reasons.

“We have people here in the Houston area that may have some mental issues,” says Bumpers. “We’re not positive about that but based on what’s just going on in the country and this city, that may be a factor also.”

According to Metro, the top 4 causes of assaults on bus operators are the following:

  1. Fare dispute
  2. Rules dispute
  3. Patron unhappy with service
  4. Verbal argument escalation

Bumpers says those assaults often happen after a dispute over a fare, or someone is asked to turn down loud music. She says Metro police are holding training sessions with drivers on how to handle those incidents.

“We’re asking them not to engage if they see someone misbehaving on the bus,” explains Bumpers. “Just call and we will make sure we respond promptly.”

Metro is also unveiling a new cell phone app for riders to report suspicious activity. They can use the app to communicate directly with Metro Police and they can also send a photo.


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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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