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Transit workers take concerns over driverless buses to city hall

Bryant-COTA bus.jpg
{ }Bus drivers and union leaders packed the chambers of Columbus City Council to rally against driverless bus technology. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Bus drivers and union leaders packed the chambers of Columbus City Council to rally against driverless bus technology.

Leaders with Transport Workers Union Local 208 explain the technology is a threat to safety and jobs.

"Safety and jobs go together. You can't be safe and not have the operator who has a productive job,” said Andrew Jordan, president of TWU Local 208.

The concern for the technology comes from a Smart City Challenge grant awarded to Columbus to test the driverless technology.

A city official wasn’t available for comment Monday night, but an official explained in March the grant included a pilot program for a self-driving shuttle that would be supervised and deployed in the Easton area in 2020. That official added there were no plans for fully driverless buses.

Monday night, a COTA spokesperson said workers have nothing to worry about.

Bus driver Darryl Neal said the point of the union’s concern boils down to one thing, "public safety. That's the number one concern of this campaign we have kicked off."

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