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SE Metrobus Operators Strike Over Safety | by Washington Area Spark
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SE Metrobus Operators Strike Over Safety

Striking Metrobus operators gather across the street from Southeastern Division May 18, 1978 protesting lack of security on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) buses.


The wildcat walkout was triggered after the early morning rape of a 32-year old female bus operator at Ridge & Burns Streets SE by a man with a knife on May 17.


These operators at the garage at One-Half Street and M Streets SE (now demolished) began the illegal strike and it spread throughout the day to the Bladensburg Road garage and the Northern Garage at 4615 14th Street NW.


A meeting was organized at an RFK Stadium parking lot that evening where striking drivers voted to suspend the strike for two weeks on the condition that a settlement was reached on the safety issue.


The strike resulted in increased police patrols on buses, a shield installed behind the driver, an emergency "panic" button and repairs to broken radios.


The walkout was the first of two wildcat strikes by Metro workers in 1978.


For a blog post on the turmoil in the D.C. transit union from 1974-80, see


See set description "DC Metro Wildcat Strikes: 1978" for more information and additional images:


For more information and additional photos on the 1974 Metro strike, See set description “Transit Strike 1974:"


Photo by Ray Lustig, Star Collection, © Washington Post. This image was not part of the original Washington Area Spark collection and has been added to give context to the time period. Scanned from an original photograph 8 x 10 photograph.

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Taken on May 18, 1978