TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen issued the following urgent communication to all TWU Local 100 Bus Operators in the face of a new threat to Transit Workers.
Once again, Transit Workers are the targets of a problem we did not create. Justice has been turned on its head. Mile-for-mile, Bus Operators are the safest drivers on the road, but now we are being portrayed as a menace ON the roads of the City. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, this is a very serious threat to our union, and we must respond accordingly.
There is an ongoing misinterpretation and misapplication by the Highway Police of the Vision Zero law. This law was meant to target deliberately reckless drivers on the streets of NYC. When the City Council passed this law, it was not intended to go after Bus Operators. Indeed, an exemption was built into the law for those “engaged in work on behalf of the City, the state of New York…." No one is above the law, including Bus Operators. But it is clear that the spirit of the Vision Zero law passed by the City Council did not envision the arrest of Bus Operators involved in accidents. We do not operate recklessly. Our Operators are professionals who prevent accidents each and every day. To treat Bus Operators as criminals is an absolute outrage, and a complete miscarriage of justice. It is already bad enough that Bus Operators have to deal with the heavy hand of the Transit Authority, relentless traffic, equipment with built in blind spots, pressurized schedules, two million passengers carried a day, and unregulated left turns. Now we are the targets of a well-intentioned law gone wrong.