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Armed Guards On CTA Buses And Trains? Transit Union Says It's Under Discussion, Though CTA Says There Are No Such Plans

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Could you soon see armed guards on certain CTA buses and trains?

Depending on whom you talk to, it might be an option on the table. As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, it all stems from the transit union's concerns about crime in the Chicago Transit Authority system.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241 insists bus drivers feel uneasy while moving around the city, and now union reps say the talks about safety entail armed security in addition to Chicago Police patrols.

CTA buses travel thousands of miles daily on 130 rounds across Chicago. As buses hit the streets, the drivers insist they cannot avoid the violence around them.

Chicago Police currently provide the security for the CTA. Yet transit union President Keith Hill said he knows officers are stretched thin.

"They can't get to us. You have too much going in the city for them to come to us," Hill said. "Even when we flag them down, they keep going."

Hill demanded CTA leaders address the crime surge and wanted a solution by the end of June. Now, Hill says the discussions go beyond CPD patrolling.

"The conversation is centered around armed security on the bus," Hill said.

Hill said those talks with the CTA are still in the early phases, but he insists it entails bringing trained armed security on some routes.

"We can't have security everywhere, so we will push and help authority identify the routes that we deem troublesome," he said.

Yet the CTA told CBS 2 since crime is down 40 percent this year, it has no plans to "hire armed security guards." Nevertheless, Hills stands by his word ands says it is on the table.

Terry: "What do you believe the armed security guards will do; will make up for?"

Hill: "Sometimes the presence is a deterrent, so I'm hoping the presence brings about a deterrence."

Early this month, an upset passenger shot a bus after a driver requested that he wear a face covering. No one was hurt.

The CTA acknowledges safety for drivers and riders is a top priority, yet Hill will say one thing has not been discussed.

"No, we haven't had conversations on where the money is coming from," Hill said. "I'm just grateful and thankful for my membership, and for the riding public, that CTA is cooperative, and interested, and willing to do something about this situation."

The CTA is doubling down. Late Wednesday night, the agency reiterated there are no discussions at all about using armed security guards on any routes in the CTA system.

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