TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Don't be surprised to start seeing some extra security onboard Sun Tran buses. Starting January 15th, the transit company added 20 Fare Enforcement Officers to patrol their routes.
This comes following a six-week strike from the Teamsters union after several officers were attacked and even stabbed by passengers.
"Their first approach is always diffusing a situation," said Sun Tran's marketing manger, Kandi Young. "Our drivers are trained in that as well, although they're in a seat and it makes it sometimes difficult so having that added security onboard will certainly help our operators."
Although the officers will not be armed, many of them have prior police and military training. Two uniformed officers are set to randomly patrol buses on all of the routes for up to 50 hours per week. But it's not just for safety, the officers are set to help prevent fair evasion and help passengers along the way.
"In addition to being on the vehicles to assist our operators if needed, they are there as a resource for our passengers to help educate them on the system and how to be effective riding transit."
Fare enforcement officers are also able to give out citations that range anywhere from $100 to $2,500 in fines.
"I think some passengers have expressed concern about that but that's in an extreme situation."
In addition to the Fare Enforecement officers, Sun Tran will continue to utilize off-duty TPD officers at transit centers for added security.