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HART will install bus safety barriers after deadly attack on driver

Nearly $1 million has been set aside for the safety improvement project.

TAMPA, Fla. — In the wake of the deadly attack on a Tampa bus driver, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will install driver safety barriers on all HART buses and HARTFlex vans.

The announcement was made Thursday and comes a week after the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) made a similar announcement on the other side of Tampa Bay.

HART said it had been working with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1593 in recent weeks to find a solution that worked for everyone. The two sides agreed to a custom-fit protective barrier with extended tempered glass that will cover the operator's space.

HART has allocated $1 million toward the safety barrier project. Each barrier will cost an estimated $5,000 to install.

"I am happy to announce that we have reached an agreement," HART CEO Ben Limmer wrote in a statement. "The safety and security of our employees remains a priority at HART as they serve our customers with the highest level of professionalism."

HART driver Thomas Dunn was randomly stabbed by a passenger on May 18. Tampa police say Justin Ryan McGriff, 35, slit Dunn's throat with a straight-edged weapon after telling him "God bless you."

 Witnesses said there was no apparent provocation before the attack. McGriff is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail.

Dunn's bus did not have a safety partition.

Related: PSTA will install safety barriers after deadly attack on HART driver

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