People, Please… Don’t Spit on the Bus Driver

No Spitting

Google is a funny thing. I was searching today for articles related to transit and mistyped “spit” when I intended “split.” It turns out, someone else has written about that. And it’s a problem.

I really had no idea.

In New York City, of all MTA driver assaults that resulted in paid leave in 2009, fully 1/3 involved a passenger hocking one on a driver. Seriously. Not only is it gross, it’s medically concerning and resulted in some serious time off — 64 days on average.

This is not just a New York issue, either. The Transportation Research Board addresses the issue with a special section in its book on practices to protect transit workers from assault. In Boston, video of a suspected bus spitter was distributed earlier this year. Toronto warns passengers that spitting is a form of driver assault. They even collect DNA from, um, “samples” in London in an attempt to identify suspects.

How about we all agree that the next time we’re on a bus, train, or subway, we’ll take a minute to smile and say thank you to the workers and our operator? I know I will. Because it’s probably more of a thankless job than we can imagine.

Photo Credit: Charles Clegg

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