Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigators say a dispute that started on a Palm Tran bus lead to a shooting Monday in Belle Glade.
Now the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union says he’s concerned for his drivers’ safety.
Dwight Mattingly tells CBS12 that he’s working with Palm Tran to explore security options for drivers including installing a barrier between riders and the driver.
“I think that would go a long way in never having a driver hit and injured,” he said.
Last April an irate passenger who refused to pay his bus fare is caught on camera assaulting a Palm Tran bus driver. The passenger punched the driver and dragged him off of the bus. The driver seen in the video is still recovering from his injuries, unable to return to work.
CBS12 watched the horrifying video with Amalgamated Transit Union President Dwight Mattingly.
“The driver is doing everything he could to stop the confrontation” said Mattingly.
Numbers provided by the union to CBS12 show passengers assaulted 15 drivers and threatened 58 in just the last 20 months.
Mattingly says some of those assaults were so severe that three drivers have not yet returned to work.
“Probably most drivers do not go through the day without some type of threat or confrontation,” he said.
Mattingly thinks better public outreach by Palm Tran can help to reduce some of these frightening statistics.
“Helping people understand that when they ride the bus, it’s a privilege and an opportunity for them to have public transit,” he said.
Mattingly says all drivers recently completed de-escalation training to help handle tense situations.
No word on when the barrier could be installed or how much it costs.