An Urgent Message to All Bus Operators from TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen
The incidents this past Friday and several weeks ago in which two Bus Operators were arrested for “failure to yield” and “failure to exercise due care” are both heartbreaking tragedies. But they were accidents, not the result of "criminal" reckless driving. Yet, our Operators were treated as if they were criminals by the Highway Police, and they face TA discipline as a result of the arrest. To add insult to blatant injustice, there are some misguided people out there applauding the criminal treatment of our Bus Operators.
Now we must respond appropriately, recognizing that we are being disgracefully and unfairly scapegoated and targeted. It is imperative that we immediately move to defend our livelihoods and protect ourselves against these attacks. Therefore, we MUST Yield/Stop “when a pedestrian or bicyclist has the right of way.” If there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk, Yield/Stop your bus until they are on the sidewalk. We must exercise extreme caution at intersections and on roadways.
Do not move your bus until all is clear. It you do not make your schedule, so be it. If traffic backs up as you await the ability to make an unquestionably "safe" left turn, so be it. If the bosses are displeased, so be it. Do not jeopardize your future for the sake of NYC Transit's on time bus performance. And if you are pressured or threatened by supervision for taking these necessary steps, notify your union representative immediately.
Members of the City Council have now moved to amend "Vision Zero” to clarify its original intent toward Bus Operators. But until the law is amended, and until the DOT installs the necessary left turn signals at dangerous intersections, this is our new reality. The rules of the road have changed, and we must respond accordingly. Protect yourself. Protect your livelihood.
We all know that Bus Operators prevent thousands of accidents every day, not cause them, as we navigate through the busiest and most dangerous streets in America. We are the safest Bus Operators in the world. But the new rule under Vision Zero is "perfection." So let’s be perfect. If the conditions are not perfectly safe, do not move your bus!