LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Attacks on RTC bus drivers became such a problem that recently, those drivers voted to strike.

Currently, their union is back in negotiations, but drivers who spoke with FOX5 say they still want changes now.

“It’s real dangerous out there,” RTC driver Dennis Hennessey told FOX5. “And I don’t think RTC takes it as seriously as they should.”

Hennessey has been driving RTC buses for 14 years and says conditions for drivers need to improve.

“They could get punched. They could have feces or urine thrown over the partition between them and the driver,” he said. “I got assaulted two months ago off the bus on the way to a restroom.”

“I do agree with the driver that it’s a tough job,” RTC Director of Safety and Security Tom Atteberry echoed. “Any assault or any attack is too many.”

Atteberry took over safety and security for RTC six months ago after 30 years in law enforcement. He says between 2022 and 2023, incident numbers on RTC buses dropped by 12% while ridership increased by 21%. He calls more recent numbers even more promising.

“Right now, eight months in, we only have 11 assaults of passenger-on-drivers,” he said.

Atteberry also pointed toward nanodevices that drivers will wear by the end of May, so when they leave the bus, they’ll feel safer.

“If they were to be attacked, all they would have to do is press this nanodevice and it sends a GPS signal to our Marksman security forces and our safety and security team,” he explained.

This is a change Hennessey desperately wants to see.

“It’s scary being on the bus or off the bus,” Hennessey said. “I got blindsided. I got punched. And I’m on blood thinner, so I could have bled to death. My nose just spouted.”

Hennessey expressed doubts about response times for the device, but Atteberry says he expects responses to happen in minutes.

“I told them I want them standing up on buses, not sitting down,” he said. “I told them I want them visible at bus stops and turnarounds and all the different places.”

RTC will roll out 56 new buses through this spring, complete with new security enclosures for drivers. RTC will also be providing de-escalation training for drivers and dispatchers.

The RTC Board of Commissioners recently increased the agency’s security budget by more than 25%, allowing it to hire more security officers—going from 240 to more than 270, which Atteberry says has cut response times in half.


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