RTA: Only 71 assaults on operators in five years

9:54 AM, Oct 23, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- In light of the viral video in which an RTA driver uppercuts an aggressive female passenger, here's a deeper look at the local bus system's stats and safety policies.

The following information comes from the Greater Cleveland RTA:

- Every weekday 200,000 people ride RTA.

- There were 71 assaults on operators over the last five years reported to transit police. While one is too many, this is only one in every 80,000 trips.

- Operators can pull over and call transit police if they are driving and are concerned for their safety.

- Customers who ever have safety or security concerns can call transit police dispatch 24/7 at 216-566-5163. Life threatening emergencies, of course, call 911.

- Code of Conduct on all RTA vehicles and at RTA property requests respect for operators, customers and police.

- People are making the choice to ride RTA every day -- for the last 17 months in a row, ridership is up. The heaviest increases are on the Red Line Rapid.

- Safety and security of everyone -- employees and customers -- is of highest priority.

Last week, RTA filed disorderly conduct charges against Shidea Lane, the female passenger seen in that viral video.

On Monday, the bus driver behind the uppercut, Artis Hughes, turned himself in to face one count of assault -- a first-degree misdemeanor. He had been suspended without pay after RTA saw the video and started an investigation.

Hughes will be arraigned next Tuesday. His union says they will stand by him and hope this is a wake-up call to the dangers they say drivers face every day.


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