Watch: Security shields for ETS drivers begin to roll out

Testing is underway for retractable shields that will be installed on all city buses to increase driver safety.

Edmonton Transit branch manager Eddie Robar showcased the first shield installed on a bus parked outside city hall Wednesday.

“I think this will be the first instalment of powered bus shields in any fleet in North America,” Robar said, adding that other cities do use shields that can be manually retracted.

Shields will initially be installed on four buses and tested so the city can work out specifications for different bus models. Once that’s sorted out, shields will go into 159 buses that already have on-board air conditioning. The remainder of the fleet will get shields and also be outfitted with HVAC systems to help control temperature in the driver compartment.

The work is expected to be completed by spring 2020. The shields cost the city $7 million, and retrofitting non-air conditioned buses will cost $4.75 million.

— Paige Parsons