HART promises tempered glass barriers for bus drivers

Hillsborough County bus drivers are getting an added layer of protection, but some say it's still too little, too late.

A month after a driver was stabbed to death, Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit (HART) announced it has made a deal with the drivers' union to install tempered glass protective barriers to separate drivers and passengers.

HART said it will cost $1,000,000 to outfit 200 buses with the custom-fit protective barriers, with extended tempered glass, to cover the operator's space.

That's $5,000 per bus, in hopes Thomas Dunn will be the only driver to ever die behind the wheel.

Dunn was stabbed May 18, allegedly by a rider who ran off after the ambush. Months earlier, Dunn stood in front of the board that oversees HART to raise concerns about driver safety.

After the attack on Dunn, HART has promised improved safety features, including more security cameras and panic buttons, but drivers say the movement has been slow and incomplete.

Meanwhile, Pinellas County's bus company, PTSA approved protective barriers for their 210 buses a week ago and says they are being installed as quickly as possible.

HART officials say they will install their barriers sometime this summer.

"We have years of picking up pieces," said Michael Dunn, Thomas Dunn's brother, on May 22. "I hope they find some way of protecting their drivers so families don't have to go through the tragedy we are going through now."

While nothing will be a complete solution, drivers hope the improvements make it more difficult for them to become the next Thomas Dunn.