Look Out for New Transit Watch Decals on Buses

The success or failure of a program often hinges on the materials that draw attention to it and with that in mind, members of the Bus Operator Action Committee (BOAC) met recently at the Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot to put the final touches on the design of the Transit Watch decal that will be displayed on thousands of buses throughout the City.

The creation of Transit Watch, was announced last year by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in the weeks after a joint conference convened by the MTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 100 to address an increase in the number of assaults on MTA personnel.

At the recent meeting, MTA Director of Labor Relations Anita Miller was thanked and acknowledged by the Bus Operator Action Committee as the conscience of the organization that has both helped guide the Transit Watch program to reality and voiced the need for an appropriate decal awareness campaign on the bus.  The decal was developed for the BOAC team by the NYC Transit’s Department of Corporate Communications in collaborative effort with BOAC.

“The Transit Watch decal is a symbol of our commitment to keeping our bus operators safe while they are serving our customers day in and day out,” said Miller. “Should an unfortunate situation arise, Transit Watch urges customers to come forward and stand up for the transit workers who serve them every day by making themselves available to give statements so that offenders can be caught and prosecuted.”      

The Committee, co-chaired by Wayne Galante for the MTA and Frank Austin for TWU Local 100, was originally set up in the wake of an assault of a NYCT Bus Operator in 2002.  Current efforts of BOAC have been initiated since the tragic murder of Bus Operator Edwin Thomas’ and a rash of assaults on bus operators.  The collaborative effort between NYC Transit and the TWU has been instrumental in incorporating bus operator shields, safety cameras and the overhaul of bus operator training procedures focused on minimizing confrontations with customers.

It is already a felony in the State of New York to assault a transit worker on duty, but Transit Watch goes farther with the creation of a public awareness outreach campaign that encourages the active participation of transit customers, urging them to come forward and serve as witnesses if they see an assault on a transit worker.  Customers who see a crime take place are asked to call the NYPD’s CrimeStoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls are kept strictly confidential, and you need not provide your name.