Bus Operators Plagued By A Spitting Problem

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Photo: Daniel Barry/Getty Images

The Times’ in-depth look at a problem you probably didn’t even know was a problem - New Yorkers spitting on bus drivers (yep, for real) - is disconcerting for a whole bunch of reasons. First they tell you that, of all the incidents that resulted in a bus operator taking paid leave in 2009, a third of them (51 in total) involved a driver being “spat upon.” Then you'll be further surprised and saddened by the reveal that bus operators who are spat on end up needing to take, on average, 64 days off work to recover from the “physically and psychologically traumatic experience."

You'll feel slightly better when you find out the MTA is mulling the idea of putting up plastic partitions or mimicking the London model of collecting DNA of “offending spitters.” But then your heart will sink again at the tale of 52-year-old driver Raul Morales, who was spit on when a guy got on the bus and said, plainly, that “he didn’t want to pay the fare.”

"[Morales] stopped at a nearby McDonald’s to clean himself off, then finished his shift. 'I just kept on going,' (An ice slushie was once thrown at him for the same reason.)"


At this point you'll be truly disgusted. And also have trouble watching Glee again, with the knowledge that the nameless/pathetic bullies on the show who stoop to the slushie attack... apparently exist in real life.

When Passengers Spit, Bus Drivers Take Months Off [NYT]