I-team sidebar - MTA/Davidson Transit Organization - WSMV Channel 4

I-team sidebar - MTA/Davidson Transit Organization

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The Metro Transit Authority and Davidson Transit Organization would not comment on camera for this I-Team report. However, MTA spokeswoman Patricia Harris-Morehead did provide this written statement about our questions.

"The Davidson Transit Organization (DTO), the employer of 332 bus operators for the Nashville MTA, has one of the better bus safety records in the nation. In fact, we recently received an APTA Safety Gold award for our innovative phone blox pilot project that ensures the non-use of cell phones or other electronic devices when drivers are operating buses.

"We have an aggressive bus operator training program that has been refined over the past several years. There is an intensive 8-week training program for new drivers and additional refresher training that focuses on safety and other bus operations procedures. In addition, bus operators' driving habits are monitored by front-line bus supervisors on a routine basis. Some of the monitoring information was in many of the personnel files you reviewed.

"DTO has a policy in place that follows the Transportation Safety Institute's (TSI) National Safety Council Guidelines on Preventable Accidents and the collective bargaining agreement with the membership outlines our disciplinary procedures for operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines.

"Mr. Thompson was not a good employee and is now a disgruntled former employee, who made a number of false allegations after the serious bus accident in 2007 that occurred when he was driving off route without a supervisor's permission. His employment with us was terminated and we followed our collective bargaining agreement regarding the disciplinary procedures for bus operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines.

"Mr. Hogan had two minor incidents involving bus and van mirrors in 2009 and 2010 prior to the tragic fatality in June 2010. He was relieved of driving duties immediately after the fatality. He did not ever return to driving MTA buses or vans. He was officially terminated in August 2011. We followed our collective bargaining agreement regarding the disciplinary procedures for bus operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines.

"Within a 10-year period, Wallace Primm had only three preventable accidents. We followed the collective bargaining agreement regarding the disciplinary procedures for bus operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines. This individual also was provided with refresher training that was documented in his personnel file. He retired in 2007.

"Ms. Janice Vick has been employed with us for 12 years and has had three preventable accidents (2 minor & 1 major). We followed the collective bargaining agreement regarding the disciplinary procedures for bus operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines. This individual also was provided with refresher training that was documented in his personnel file.

"Ms. Patricia Pirk, a former employee, worked for us for three years and had four minor preventable accidents, non involving a pedestrian as alleged by a disgruntled former employee. She was terminated for other reasons as noted in the file you reviewed. She hasn't worked here in nearly five years.

"Mr. James Bianchi has worked for us nearly seven years, and has had two minor preventable accidents. We followed the collective bargaining agreement regarding the disciplinary procedures for bus operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines. This individual also was provided with refresher training that was documented in his personnel file. He has had no other preventable accidents after 5/12/08.

"As stated earlier, DTO has a policy in place that follows the Transportation Safety Institute's (TSI) National Safety Council Guidelines on Preventable Accidents and our collective bargaining agreement with the membership outlines the disciplinary procedures for operators involved in accidents based on the TSI Safety Guidelines. DTO, the employer of 332 bus operators for the Nashville MTA, has one of the better bus safety records in the nation. Our drivers collectively log over 5 million miles a year and provide safe services that result in nearly 10 million annual passengers trips for residents and visitors. Our drivers are well-trained and the accidents mentioned are not the norm."

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