Metro riders have mixed feelings on bus safety after driver shot

SEATTLE -- Most King County Metro riders feel the bus is safe place, but some are not so sure.

“I was in Vietnam and I’m more scared riding Metro sometimes,” Clay Brown said Tuesday. “I’m not surprised that someone didn’t get killed a long time ago because I’ve seen people with guns on the bus all the time.”

Metro police said if you see something that worries you, call 911 and report the route number and the four digit coach number posted on the bottom of the front windshield, back of the bus and side windows.

There are 100 armed Metro and Sound Transit security officers, some in uniform and others who are undercover like air marshals. Drivers are trained not to get in to it with unruly riders.

“That is really the role of the bus operators -- to be a peacekeeper on the coach and support the riders with a good, safe operation and not get into a confrontation with customers,” Dave Jutilla with Metro Transit Police said.

Metro experimented with secure enclosures for drivers after an attack a few years ago, but they didn’t like it as it made it hard to interact with passengers and there were fears a driver could get trapped in a crash.

“If it was a big city like New York and there was a lot of crime, maybe we would consider it more seriously,” Martin Munguia with Community Transit in Snohomish County said. “We don’t want to create an atmosphere that this looks like a dangerous place or we don’t want to interact with you.”

Last year, there were 107 Metro Transit drivers who were assaulted. Pierce Transit reports it nine of its drivers were assaulted.