HARRISBURG – A bill introduced by Sens. Frank Farry (R-6) and Christine Tartaglione (D-2) to safeguard transit operators against assault was passed by the Senate this week with an overwhelming bipartisan support of 47-1.
Senate Bill 977 would make it a serious crime to interfere with an operator of any public transit vehicle. The offense would be classified as a felony of the third degree if the interference causes bodily injury. The offense would be steepened to a felony of the first degree if the intrusion causes serious bodily injury or death.
Since the pandemic, there has been a significant increase of threats and assaults on transit operators in Pennsylvania – especially Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) operators – including gun violence, physical assaults and other disruptions.
“This bill would not only provide the necessary protections for our hardworking transit employees who are vital to Pennsylvania, but protect passengers and other commuters on the roadway,” Farry said. “The bill is named after U.S. Army veteran Bernard Gribbin – a SEPTA bus operator who was tragically killed while working on Oct. 26. Operators deserve our protection.”
Transit agencies and employees support the legislation. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Nicole McGerry; 215-990-8949