The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) Board activated emergency procurement procedures this week to expedite the installation of protective barriers for bus operators.

John Ellis, general chairperson of GO 875, which represents our members who work on LACMTA, issued the following statement April 25:

General Chairperson John Ellis of GO 875, which represents LACMTA workers.

“We have reached a critical milestone! After countless hurdles, on Thursday, April 18, 2024, I viewed the completed prototype enclosure and requested the execution and mass production of the implementation of the driver enclosures. I drove the bus for 35 years and I understand what our members are all up against daily.

“No one can begin to comprehend what an operator faces during these unpredictable times. Rest assured, I will continue to advocate the safety that is owed to our members. I will not stop fighting until all enclosures are on all the buses. Metro, law enforcement and the union as a whole must remain vigilant to this plague affecting our brothers and sisters. Their physical well being and mental stability is of the upmost priority to our members and their families.

“At today’s (April 25) Board of Directors meeting, the board approved and authorized the emergency procurement designation to expedite the completion of the installation of the retrofit barriers on Metro’s fleet by the end of December. I anxiously await the retrofit buses to start making headway for the safety of our transportation heroes — it can’t happen fast enough.

“Furthermore, more new assaults have been reported. When it’s not a valued member, it’s an innocent patron being attacked. The current contracted agencies of law enforcement are not sufficient! We need a dedicated Metro police system for transportation.

“This is a vital and legitimate request I am proposing to Metro. It will create a better safety transportation system, dedicated police taking care of nothing BUT transit! No ifs, ands or buts about it. Everyone’s life matters.

“I’d like to recognize Metro’s CEO Stephanie Wiggins for working collaboratively with me and taking action during these unprecedented times. The union thanks our members for their continuous service.”