CTA Wants Drivers to Think Inside the Box

Bus drivers are attacked 10 times a month in our city, and the CTA is now trying to protect them behind plastic shields.

About 500 buses now have the shatter-proof, Lexan shields that are designed to protect drivers from unruly passengers.

The shields swing into place and have holes the drivers can talk to passengers through, but the Trib noted that it makes talking with the driver feel like you're at the currency exchange.

Is putting a bus driver in a plexiglass box a good idea?

As much as 80 percent of CTA drivers don't like driving inside the box, according to a union official. Drivers complain they're stuffy, create glare and are too cramped for big boned drivers. They're also worried they'd be pinned in during a crash.

But the shields do protect drivers from being smacked by passengers, or having bricks or eggs thrown at them through the open door -- all of which have happened recently.

The shields cost about $800 each.

Similar shields are used in Milwaukee.  The transit system there announced last November that about 30 buses would be getting the Lexan shields this year. 

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