Local leaders to hold meeting in hopes of bringing changes to CATS safety

With the new year just around the corner, employees at the Charlotte Area Transit System are hoping for better safety measures.

ALSO READ: Multiple CATS guards under fire, after being caught on video dragging a man from the BlueLine

Throughout this year, there have been several incidents involving CATS; most recently, a driver was hit by a stray bullet last week. Fortunately, he is back home from the hospital and recovering.

Both drivers and employees are grateful for their colleague’s recovery, and they will be holding a prayer service on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Throne of Grace Church on Albemarle Road.

Sheriff McFadden, Councilwoman Lawana Mayfield, and Union members are some of the speakers at the event. They are expected to call for improved safety measures for drivers.

Veteran crime reporter Glenn Counts spoke with Khalayiah Stevenson, whose aunt is a bus driver for CATS. She told Counts she worries for her aunt’s safety at work constantly.

“She rides the bus; she drives the bus,” Stevenson told Counts. “She’s always down here; she’s always driving the bus; they don’t know which route she’s on; they can’t use their phones, so we never know until we get a text or call.”

Mike Tee has been a passenger on CATS busses for a decade now and has seen interactions between drivers and passengers get heated.

“There is tension and I think a lot of times people try and get on the bus without their fare,” Tee said, “they get on they want to drink alcohol or do something they are not supposed to be doing.”

The federal government is also calling on transit systems across the country to do more to protect their drivers.

A recent suggestion by the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) is to make passengers aware that they’re on camera and that bus drivers can call for help at any point in their route.

Union officials are encouraged by that because they are hopeful it will spark change in our area.

(WATCH BELOW: CATS bus driver hit by stray bullet in northwest Charlotte, CMPD says)