Some X2 line Metrobus drivers are refusing to work following an incident where an upset woman threw urine on a driver. They say this is part of a bigger problem and now some are saying they won’t drive if their demands aren't met.
The X2 line starts by the White House at 16th and H Street Northwest, then heads east all the way to 14th Street Northeast. There it connects with Benning Road and heads east across the river to Minnesota Avenue.
Riders should expect their commute to be impacted.
X2: Due to an operational problem, buses are experiencing 19+min delays. Consider Metrorail, route X9 or DC Streetcar to complete your trip— Metrobus Info (@Metrobusinfo) September 1, 2017
Last Saturday, Opal Brown of Southeast DC, was leaving the bus when the driver said: "have a nice day." That is when Brown pulled out a cup of urine and poured it on the driver.
She was arrested for simple assault Wednesday.
Over the years Metro has tried to improve bus safety by installing video monitors and sliding plexiglass barriers. But, drivers say assaults have become a regular occurrence.
The employees say it's not enough and the only solution is to have a police escort on the bus.
Metro officials released the following statement:
ATU Local 689, the union representing Metrobus Operators, is currently engaged in an unauthorized and potentially unlawful labor action that is significantly impacting riders on the X2 line. The stated goal by union leadership is to draw attention to safety concerns, specifically bus operator assaults, following an incident on Saturday. This is a subject on which Metro and the union agree: Absolutely no one should be assaulted simply for doing their job. However, we disagree with impacting Metro customers who are simply trying to get to work and school by Metrobus Operators refusing to provide bus service in a disruptive and unlawful job action.
Metro and the union also agree that laws need to be strengthened to help protect bus operators, including enhanced penalties for anyone who assaults a frontline transit worker.
We should note that, working with the Union, Metro has taken several steps to address the issue of bus operator safety. For example, Metro Transit Police now have nearly 40 Transit Police officers specifically assigned to Metrobus. These officers are embedded with our bus operators at Shepherd Parkway and Northern bus divisions with the goal of sharing information with operators about where problems are being encountered. Additionally, more than a third of Metrobuses have now been equipped with protective shields and all new buses will arrive from the factory with a safety shield already installed. In addition, every Metrobus has been equipped with digital cameras that are always recording, as well as communication equipment that allows the operator to call for help with the push of a button.