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.
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