NewsPinellas County


'It's a dangerous job' | Transit bus operators speak out after deadly attack

Posted at 11:01 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 23:09:46-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Local transit bus drivers are describing the dangers they face everyday on the job after a HART driver was stabbed to death over the weekend.

ABC Action News spoke with two operators with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Monday, two days after the deadly attack in Tampa.

“The fact of the matter is it’s a dangerous job. I was attacked last June," said David Traylor.

A violent passenger punched Traylor three times in the head nearly one year ago. PSTA received mixed feedback after testing out tempered glass dividers as a protective shield following the incident.

"It felt very restrictive and it was also awkward getting into the seat," Traylor said.

"I think they should consider the right fit for the right enclosures to make us feel safe," Ed LaMay said.

Tampa Police are still investigating a motive behind Saturday's deadly attack.

RELATED: Police: Suspect caught on camera saying "God bless you" before deadly stabbing of HART bus driver

A police report released Monday states Justin McGriff told the driver "God bless you" twice before the unprovoked stabbing. A witness described McGriff's behavior in recent days as erratic.

"From moment to moment, from stop to stop we don’t know what we’re picking up," LaMay said. "There are times it can become hostile out there."

Local transit operators hope security improvements will calm fears on the road.

"We're all alone out there, all day by ourselves," said LaMay. "We need to feel safe."