DDOT drivers rally for police protection

Union says service is deplorable, asks for on-bus police protection

By Corey McIsaac - Producer

DETROIT - Following a rash of incidents on board Detroit Department of Transportation buses, employees are holding rally Tuesday for better service and police protection.

"The service is deplorable, something needs to be done. Buses need to run on time so we can get people where they need to be," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 President Fred Westbrook.

Westbrook said tensions run high because the service is so bad, which is often the cause of the angst that is directed at the bus drivers themselves.

"People spit on bus drivers, throw liquids on us, punch us in the face," he said.

Employees plan to meet at Campus Martius and then march down Woodward Avenue to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Westbrook said he would like to meet with Detroit Police Chief James Craig to come up with a plan.

"We have calls into the chief's office to see if he plans to take the meeting," he said.

Most recently, Local4 Reporter Chauncy Glover told the story of a woman new in town, who says she was assaulted by a bus driver.

The bus driver's union said he was defending himself.

DPD to work with DDOT

Detroit Police Lt. Darwin Roche says the police department will be working with DDOT to set up driver self-awareness classes. Moreover, DDOT will provide the Detroit Police Department with a list of "hot routes" where assaults are more common. Roche says DPD expects to have that list by Tuesday. The list will be given to patrol officers.

DDOT security, DPD and Detroit police reserves all will work together to formulate a plan.

Roche says it still is not determined whether DPD officers will be boarding buses at any point. He say this is just the first step in the process.

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