[UPDATE 8:00 am: This TV report provides some video of what the shields look like. It’s hardly an airtight seal.]
The Seattle PI reports that Metro will install Plexiglas barriers between drivers and passengers in a handful of buses as a trial run.
After a bus driver was beaten and knocked unconscious while behind the wheel, officials with King County Metro Transit are exploring whether to enclose drivers behind Plexiglas barriers.
As a pilot project, security partitions will be installed in a small number of buses, General Manager Kevin Desmond said. More details, including costs, will be announced in the next few weeks, he said.
I’m not so sure that Metro’s limited dollars should be going to Plexiglas barriers. As the article notes, a barrier could cement a notion that buses are unsafe. And if a passenger’s first source of aid is behind a barrier, wouldn’t that make one feel less protected? While bus drivers can go through dangerous parts of town, it stands to reason that if a bus is an unsafe place to be then passengers and not just drivers should be protected. That means things like security cameras and a random police presence could be more effective for overall safety than Plexiglas barriers for drivers.