Biden-Harris Administration Takes Nationwide Step to Address Assaults on Transit Workers
FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez speaks about what the transit industry must do to address the significant and continuing national-level safety risk related to assaults on transit workers.
WASHINGTON – With assaults on transit workers at an unacceptable level, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on the nation's transit agencies to take further action to protect these critical frontline workers. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a proposed General Directive on required actions regarding assaults on transit workers in the Federal Register that will allow it to better assess and address the risk frontline transit workers face.
FTA encourages members of the public, transit agencies, and other interested parties to submit comments on the proposed General Directive, which will be open for 60 days until February 20, 2024.
"Everyone deserves a safe workplace, including and especially the frontline transit workers who keep our nation moving" said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Assaults on transit workers are unacceptable, and I look forward to working with leaders across the transit industry on ways to further enhance the safety of these essential workers."
From 2008 to 2021, the National Transit Database documented an average of 241 reportable assault events on transit workers. These include 192 assaults per year occurring in or on transit vehicles, 44 per year in transit facilities, and five per year in other non-public locations, such as maintenance shops and yards.
"Each day, transit workers nationwide are responsible for moving millions of Americans to their jobs, schools, and other daily activities, and we must ensure that their safety remains a top priority," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "This proposed General Directive is part of FTA’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to improve transit worker safety."
The General Directive proposes that transit agencies subject to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASP) regulation be required to conduct a safety risk assessment related to assaults on transit workers on the public transportation system they operate using the Safety Management System (SMS) processes outlined in their Agency Safety Plan. The proposed General Directive also requires each transit agency to identify safety risk mitigations or strategies necessary to improve transit worker safety based on its safety risk assessment. For transit agencies serving a large urbanized area, a safety committee, made up of equal parts management and transit labor representatives, is ultimately responsible for identifying and recommending these safety risk mitigations.
Finally, the proposed General Directive requires each transit agency to provide information to FTA on how it is assessing, mitigating, and monitoring the safety risk associated with assaults on transit workers within 60 days of issuance of the final General Directive.
For technical assistance resources to support safety risk assessment for assaults on transit workers, visit Using SMS to Protect Transit Workers from Assaults.
This action builds upon previous steps by the Biden-Harris administration to address transit worker safety, including:
- Proposed changes to Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASP) regulation to incorporate new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requirements
- Requirements for expanded reporting of assaults on transit workers to the National Transit Database
- Enhanced Transit Safety and Crime Prevention Initiative
- Assault Awareness and Prevention for Transit training course
- Request for Information (RFI) on Transit Worker Safety
The proposed General Directive will be open for public comment in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period, concluding on February 20, 2024.