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CTA Driver Assaulted By Passenger, 'It's Not Okay'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A CTA bus driver was punched by a passenger last week, even though she was sitting behind a protective shield.

The driver was assaulted while dropping off a rider in the South Shore area. This is one in a series of violent attacks on CTA workers CBS 2 has been documenting.

"They act like it's okay," the bus driver, identified only by the name Tina, said. "It's not okay."

She has worked as a CTA bus operator for nearly two decades, picking up passengers on the 71st Street route.

Wednesday morning's incident may be the reason she never gets behind the wheel of a bus again.

Tina said a woman she was driving attacked her during her route.

"That's all she kept saying, is that she was going to beat my a**," Tina said.

The 51-year-old mother of three said she tried dropping the angry woman off at 71st Street and Stony Island Avenue.

Before exiting the bus, the woman attacked Tina.

"She swung and hit me," Tina said.

She was taken to University of Chicago Hospital.

"That shouldn't be happening, this is stuff that shouldn't be happening to us," she said.

The CTA has about 1,800 buses in its fleet, most of which are equipped with plastic shields made of lexan. The barriers cost $800 to buy and install.

Tina said the shield was up and did not prevent her from being assaulted.

CBS 2 reached out to the CTA, and it sent a statement saying, "Every employee deserves the right to a safe working environment. We work closely with our unions to ensure that."

"They need to find a better way to protect us," Tina said. "If you're going to protect me, protect me completely. Don't leave me open."

Full barriers are a reality in parts of England. The drivers are able to enclose themselves at the press of a button.

The CTA said it considered a prototype for a full barrier shield last summer, but has not revisited the idea since. Instead, it is working to add an additional 1,000 cameras to its network of 32,000 across the CTA system.

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