The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) completed its installation of 187 protective barriers on its fleet of fixed-route buses, giving bus operators another layer of security.
CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. instructed leadership to investigate this security feature in 2018, based on feedback from JTA Transit Operations, bus operators, and due to national and local trends that show an increase in assaults on bus operators while on the job.
“The safety and security of our customers and our employees is our top priority at the JTA,” said Ford. “That’s why we work so closely with law enforcement and why we proactively invest in safety measures like these new shields.”
The JTA Board of Directors allocated $600,000 in funding at its March 26 meeting to purchase and shields and retrofit JTA’s entire bus fleet. Installations began in August. New buses ordered by JTA will already have these safety devices in place.
The investment by the JTA Board came after a year-long pilot program launched in 2018 by JTA leadership and with input from bus operators to determine which shield should be adopted.
The final selection is a clear, retractable shield that covers the bus operator’s right side, which faces boarding or departing customers. Each shield can be locked in place in a matter of seconds, should the operator feel the need.