PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Denny Crisostomo showed up to Wednesday’s Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority meeting begging board members to protect their drivers.
Crisostomo is a bus driver with the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. Her friend and fellow HART driver Thomas Dunn was murdered earlier this month.
“Thomas spoke about this,” Crisostomo said from the podium at the PSTA meeting.
She said Dunn asked for help at a December HART meeting after being assaulted.
“Unfortunately, HART board and HART operations and managers failed him,” she said. “In my mind, I don’t believe he’s not here. In my mind, I still think he’s out there driving. The only thing is I don’t receive his calls that I used to get.”
There have been twenty assaults on PSTA drivers since 2016. On three occasions, drivers were struck in the face.
“I was assaulted myself. I was spit on twice,” another driver said during the meeting.
Of the 210 buses, drivers said only one has an enclosure, and that’s not enough. Drivers said passengers can still reach around.
PSTA board members agreed to work quickly.
“I think we need to do something immediately, immediately,” said board member Patricia F. Johnson.
Board members have called an emergency finance committee meeting to determine how to pay for the enclosures.
On Monday, drivers plan to show up to HART’s board meeting at 9 a.m.