SMART Transportation Division announces members of Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety committee

December 8, 2023

Independence, Ohio — The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division (SMART-TD) has announced the members who will participate in the Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety (BTAPS) Committee.

This committee, which was voted on at the SMART Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, is known as the Bus and Transit Assault Prevention and Safety (BTAPS) Committee. BTAPS is being chaired by Christine Ivey who is a bus member of SMART-TD Local 1785 and works as a bus operator for the Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines.

In addition to Sister Ivey, the eight members of the BTAPS Committee will be the following:

Bus members

  • Russ Gaillard, Local 1582 Adirondack Transit Lines, Albany, New York
  • Sandra Pineda, Local 1563 LACMTA, El Monte, California
  • Bruce Cheatham, Local 1594 SEPTA, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
  • Pedro (Pete) Lara Jr., Local 1563 LACMTA, El Monte, California

Transit/commuter members

  • Cole Czub, Local 898 KEOLIS, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Scott Carey, Local 95 Amtrak, Rensselaer, New York
  • Ernest Higgerson, Local 1525 Amtrak, Carbondale, Illinois
  • Joseph Williams, Local 800 New Jersey Transit, Newark, New Jersey

The committee is composed of 4 bus members, and 4 representatives of our transit and commuter rail membership. This committee will be lobbying both at the state level and in Washington D.C. to promote bills that ensure the best demonstrated practices for transit worker safety and bring down the alarming rate of assaults on our brothers and sisters. Our BTAPS members will also be working with carriers, the FTA and other federal agencies to promote the best practices to make our members safer on the job.

“I want to thank all our bus and transit members who volunteered to serve on this important committee. After careful consideration, we have chosen eight members that represent a geographically diverse cross section of our bus, transit, and commuter service workforce,” SMART-TD President Jeremy R. Ferguson said. “We are lucky to have many talented people in our union and we look forward to the progress this BTAPS Committee will make. Under Christine Ivey’s leadership, I am sure they will make an immediate impact on the safety of our bus and transit rail members.”


If you’re interested in speaking more about transit worker safety, and the changes SMART-TD is calling for, we’d be happy to connect you with:


President Jeremy Ferguson, a member of Local 313 in Grand Rapids, Mich., was elected president of SMART’s Transportation Division in 2019.

President Ferguson, an Army veteran, started railroading in 1994 as a conductor on CSX at Grand Rapids, Mich., and was promoted to engineer in 1995. Ferguson headed the recent national rail negotiations for the union with the nation’s rail carriers.


Christine Ivey, a member of Local 1785 in Santa Monica, California, was appointed as the chairperson of the BTAPS committee in the summer of 2023 and has been pivotal in the committee’s founding. Sister Ivey has been a bus operator for 30 years and has been working for the City of Santa Monica’s Municipal Bus Lines (Big Blue Bus) since 2014.


Vice President Hughes, a member of Local 1596 out of Charlotte, N.C., began his career in transportation with the Charlotte Area Transportation System in 1999 and has been a SMART-TD member ever since. Hughes was an alternate vice president at SMART-TD from 2014 through 2019 when he was elected to his current role as vice president.