The union for RTA bus drivers is claiming as many as half of the emergency radios on buses aren't working -- but RTA says that's greatly exaggerated.
"It's not all. Not all of the system not working but about half. We've been arguing this since negotiations. Safety is not new. We need safety for our members and safety for our passengers," said William Nix of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
Bus safety has been in the spotlight after a driver was attacked in his seat last week, another driver recently had hot coffee thrown on him, and another driver was fired after giving an uppercut to a female passenger accused of being physically and verbally abusive. Video of that case went viral.
In an email, RTA spokesperson Mary Shaffer wrote: "..5-10% radios may have issues on the road, but we try to send all radios out working. On Sunday we had seven radios called in with bad audio (working but poor quality) all day. There were 11 called in Saturday. That is out of at least 100 buses in service. We do repairs as we get calls. That is out of hundreds of buses in service.."
The head of RTA is expected at a city council public safety committee hearing Wednesday to discuss bus safety.