T launches campaign to try to prevent assaults on drivers

One of the new posters warns of the consequences of assaulting a T driver.
One of the new posters warns of the consequences of assaulting a T driver.

The MBTA hopes thousands of new signs and decals posted throughout its trains and buses will stop the rise in assaults against its drivers, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

The signs and decals, posted in the last week, feature statements such as, “Violence toward a bus driver is against the law” and “We will prosecute,” in the hope that customers will think twice before assaulting a driver. The MBTA has already posted 5,000 of the warnings inside its vehicles, Pesaturo said.

On station platforms, a recorded message from MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott and MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan announces to customers that if they attack a driver, “We will find you, arrest you, and prosecute you.”

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In the first four months of 2013, there were 28 reported assaults on T drivers, Pesaturo said, up from 24 reported during the same time in 2012.

The posters and recording are all part of a new effort to “proactively inform our customers that an assault on a T employee is against the law, and that offenders will be prosecuted,” Scott wrote in a letter to T employees.

One of the most violent attacks this year involved a group of teenagers flagging down a Route 16 bus and attacking the driver on Columbia Road in Dorchester in early March.

Scott said she was troubled by the “brazen” attacks, adding, “Getting assaulted is not part of any T employee’s job.”