COTA workers fear the impact of driverless buses


The Transport Workers Union #208 of Columbus attended a transportation and public safety hearing at the Statehouse Wednesday. Their message was a simple one: "Please don't take our jobs".

Ohio legislators are considering driverless buses for public transportation. But, current bus operators worry about the impact the technology will have on their jobs.

"It just doesn't seem like it's going to go well," said DeAnna Baker, a mother of 6 and a bus operator for 5 years. "When I have had to actually stand up and put on the breaks because someone just walks into the street, I do not see how an autonomous bus is going to handle that well."

Union president Andrew Jordan testified before state representatives to talk about the potential impact on jobs and safety.

"We question the safety of this technology and caution against trading human error for computer error," Jordan said.

The group of bus operators in attendance wore masks that read "We will not be silenced."

"If bus drivers lose their jobs, they face the prospect of low wage employment or unemployment and the potential reliance on public benefits," said Jordan.

Bus drivers can make as much as $28 per hour.

Legislators are still in the research phase and have not yet made any decisions on driverless buses.