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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 7, 2024) — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) announced today that it will be installing protective barriers in all of its buses by the end of the year.

The step taken by LACMTA will make it the first urban bus system with this safety measure fully installed. Consistent with the Federal Transit Administration’s mandated safety plans, the barriers are designed to protect bus operators from potential assault and will be installed two years ahead of a previous schedule.

Jeremy Ferguson, the president of the SMART Transportation Division labor union (SMART-TD), which represents more than 6,000 LACMTA workers, issued the following statement today:

“Thanks to the L.A. County Metro board and CEO Stephanie Wiggins for their commitment to this groundbreaking safety feat and their willingness to collaborate with SMART. Led by Los Angeles Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation Division Chairperson, John Ellis and his officers, this accelerated initiative for bus barriers on the entire fleet was strongly advocated for by the union. It represents a huge step forward in addressing SMART’s members safety concerns and demonstrates how much can be accomplished when labor and management work together on issues of mutual concern.

“Hopefully this will be a catalyst for many more such improvements for the safety and well-being of SMART members across the nation.”

On April 25, LACMTA’s board initiated emergency procurement procedures to speed up the barrier installations after attacks on workers made headlines.

“This action will make LACMTA a safer transportation system for the workers I am proud to represent and for the passengers we all are happy to serve,” GC Ellis said. “We thank CEO Wiggins and the LACMTA leadership for putting these protections into high gear.”

As of June 2023, LACMTA has 1,888 buses in service. Its system has 11,980 bus stops and serves a 1,447-square-mile region with 120 routes. The LACMTA provides nearly 1 million rides on its bus and rail system every weekday and an average of 580,000 rides per day on weekends.

In March, the agency provided more than 7.6 million miles of bus and rail passenger service for the country’s most-populous county.


SMART Transportation Division is comprised of approximately 125,000 active and retired members who work in a variety of different crafts in the transportation industry. These crafts include employees on every Class I railroad, Amtrak, many shortline railroads, bus and mass transit employees and airport personnel.

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.”