Should MCTS bus drivers carry guns? Drivers, union, company reps speak out about safety

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Transit System bus drivers on Thursday, July 18 again called for safer working conditions.

Drivers gathered in Milwaukee for an Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 and said they face problems with riders on a regular basis, and sometimes, things even get physical.

Earlier this year, an MCTS driver was stabbed during a dispute over a bus fare.

The drivers said when they call for help from security, it often takes too long to get a response.

"When we need help, we need it now. We need them to be able to run red lights, we need them to have arrest powers. We need them to be able to frighten these people a little bit because they're not afraid. Our security gets on and they laugh about it. They laugh about it," said Mark Fiene, driver.

MCTS responded on Thursday afternoon.

"We have a shared passion for security at MCTS, and what we're really looking for is for ATU, next week, at our next scheduled negotiation date, to bring their security concerns and topics to the table," said Kristina Hoffman, director of marketing and communications at MCTS.

The union issued a proposal in current negotiations that would allow bus drivers to carry guns during their shifts.