Detroit bus drivers fed up with 'deplorable' conditions

- Bus drivers in Detroit have had enough of rude passengers, nauseating fumes and bed bugs. They say they're forced to work in deplorable conditions and their union is demanding the city do something about it.

DDOT bus drivers say they're tired of roaches, rats, bed bugs, being assaulted and being spit on. In August, the Amalgamated Transit Union local 26 - the bus drivers' union - filed a resolution to end injuries from poor bus design, like blind spots, and to get rid of deplorable bus conditions.

"There are a lot of incidents where drivers are spit on," said ATU Local 26 president Fred Westbrook.

The union believes there are other problems but the director of DDOT says that's simply not true.

"That's not from the numbers that are reported to us," said DDOT director Dan Dirks.

In fact, statistics show that assaults on bus drivers are significantly down from 2016 to this 2017. Spitting wasn't included. The union says there's yet another problem: bed bugs.

"Last year there was a major epidemic. Just about 50 percent of the fleet had bedbugs," Westbrook said.

Again, Dirks disputes that claim.

"We've had two bedbugs in the last year. TWO in the last year on our buses," he said [emphasis his].

In case there is an issue, DDOT has a bedbug dog named Molly. Dirks said that she can track down any bedbug, if she's needed.

Other issues brought by the union in its resolution, include the need for ergonomic seating and the need for air filters to prevent exposure to diesel fumes.

"I had a conversation with Dan Dirks a few months ago and gave them a list of things we want to see done," Westbrook said.

Both the union and DDOT agree that assaults are down and the blind spots in buses must be eliminated. They also agree that Molly is a very good dog who is good at her job.

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