Protesting CARTA employee: "We're just robots"
A 20-year CARTA employee says their concerns regarding vehicle conditions, forced overtime and safety have fallen on deaf ears when brought to management's attention.
Drivers of Chattanooga's public transit system are demanding change saying conditions they work in are unsafe.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1212 represents a group of CARTA drivers filed a lawsuit this week saying their rights were violated when they were denied access to speak at an open meeting.
Seabron Battle, who has driven for CARTA for 20 years, was part of the group who packed Thursday's CARTA board meeting.
"We're just robots. You just perform and that's all you need to do as though we're not human and we don't have concerns," Battle said.
Battle added their concerns regarding vehicle conditions, forced overtime and safety have fallen on deaf ears when brought to management's attention.
Even sparking a lawsuit filed by ATU Local 1212.
"Passengers complain to the drivers and they expect for us to take care of their needs but it's out of our control. We give indications to management and nothing's been done," he added.
But CARTA Board Chairman Steve Jett said progress is being made as management tries their best to keep vehicles in top condition and the amount of overtime hours worked are down.
"When we hire someone, there's an extensive training process before we put someone out on the street driving a bus and picking up passengers," he added.
Jett asked the group to submit their concerns in writing so CARTA can officially respond.
One of those concerns highlight safety training.
Battle said drivers don't know what to do in the event of an active shooter or chemical attack, two things Battle said are on his mind when he's behind the wheel.
"Safety is our priority. Some things have been said that indicate that is not the case, I would disagree with that completely," Jett said.
ATU tells Channel 3 they do not plan on dropping the lawsuit.