KC ATA adds ‘safe space’ to make drivers feel more at ease

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Area Transportation Authority is continuing to take action to improve security on metro buses.

Last week FOX 4 News reported details of an agreement to put full time Kansas City police officers onboard.

Now, protective partitions are being installed in buses to limit assaults on drivers.

The ATA reported 19 assaults on bus drivers last year. And the agency says that's 19 too many.

That's why passengers will soon see plexiglass partitions separating drivers from the public while they're behind the wheel.

Up to 100 security screens are being installed on buses that will provide an extra layer of protection for bus operators. Other transit agencies may use them as well.

"It's a plexiglass door," Cindy Baker, of the ATA, said. "The vast majority of assaults that take place on our buses are things like spitting, throwing beverages, things like that. So we believe that will help almost eliminate most of those sorts of incidents."

The ATA also is sending all of its drivers to an assault prevention course developed at Rutgers University's National Transit Institute. Metro bus operators are the first in the nation to receive this training, which the agency hopes will help drivers defuse situations from becoming violent.

Two full-time uniformed Kansas City police officers also begin patrolling the transit system later this month.

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