Shooting of SEPTA driver prompts calls for change

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - September 7, 2011

"We want the word to go out to the knuckleheads of the world that assaults on our employees is not going to be tolerated," said Richard Maloney of SEPTA.

The transit system says veteran driver Bernetta Rembert was about to start her shift when a man ran up to the bus, tried to get on and fired twice through her door.

The woman was hit in the arm but still managed to drive herself to the Hospital of the University of Pennslyvania.

For seven years, State Senator Tina Tartaglione has been trying to get a bill passed that would put bus operators in the same class as police officers and firefighters.

Attacks against drivers would be upgraded to aggravated assaults, a second degree felony, but the bill has never gotten out of committee.

"Not only our bus drivers, our transit workers, how about our people coming on the bus, we should try to make it as safe as we can," Tartaglione said.

This year, there have been 46 assaults against SEPTA Drivers, more than ever before. Last year, there were only 20.

In June, two men opened fire on a SEPTA bus. No one was hurt.

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