The New Year is coming right up, and along with the fun and festivities come some challenges like dealing with intoxicated or unruly passengers. We want your transit company to have a safe New Year’s Eve, so we’ve compiled some ideas to help the night go smoothly.
Review records of incidents in prior years to identify locations that were hot spots for trouble. You can use this information to co-ordinate with authorities and see if extra patrols would be advisable, and to schedule your security services if you employ them.
Make sure your security cameras are in proper working order, so you can record any incidents if they do occur. This is also a good time to test panic buttons.
Schedule a meeting with your operators this week for a review of safety procedures. They should have training on how to recognize intoxication or drug use, how to defuse potentially volatile situations and how to handle unruly passengers. Encourage your operators to be professional and firm in enforcing fares and rules, but not to the point of escalating conflict or risking personal harm.
The Transit Cooperative Research Program recommends courses in verbal judo, which can teach operators de-stressing techniques, how to “calm a hostile customer and diffuse a potentially violent situation.” If you have provided your operators with self-defense training, this is a good time to brush up on those techniques. If not, consider offering this instruction as soon as possible in the coming year.
Also, keep in mind that this is a difficult time of year for many people, and your operators may have just had a hard holiday season themselves. It will be hard for them to smooth the ruffled feathers of passengers if they are dealing with stress or grief themselves. Take some time to check in with each employee and see if there are any steps you can take to boost morale.
Combining Vehicle Positioning that tracks the location of the transit vehicle at all times with Real Time Status Updates to notify your passengers of delays or route changes can be beneficial, will allow you to keep riders informed of changes or delays.
Have a great New Years and stay safe.