Bus shelter drug use sparking concerns in Minneapolis – CBS News

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By Reg Chapman
September 28, 2022 / 6:13 PM / CBS Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS – It’s hard to ignore what’s going on inside bus shelters near West Broadway Avenue and Lyndale Avenue North. On display, for all to see, appears to be the illegal smoking of drugs, and the aftermath of users feeling the effects of the drugs.
Ryan Timlin is president of ATU Local 1005, the union which represents Metro Transit drivers.
“It’s a serious problem in the shelters … it’s really bad for the community and the neighborhoods and the ridership, but it’s even worse because it’s spilling into the buses and the trains,” Timlin said.
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Drivers have big concerns, too, saying they’re inhaling second-hand smoke from illegal drugs being smoked onboard.
“It hasn’t happened yet. We are concerned one day if an accident happens and a driver’s been driving a bus that’s been exposed to fentanyl smoke or any other drug being smoked on the bus. And our operators have been exposed to it driving the buses. We’ve had a couple who had to leave feeling ill,” Timlin said.
He says one driver was given NARCAN, the drug used to counteract an opioid overdose, after he was exposed while driving a bus.
Complaints forced Metro Transit to make changes. Drew Kerr is the transport operator’s senior manager.
“We relocated and removed a couple of shelters in this location, the thought being that these were shelters that weren’t being used for their intended purpose. Obviously drug use on a bus, big, big concern, ” Kerr said. “We don’t want to have it. We are very aware of the concerns that are out there.”
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He says with 108 transit officers and more than 12,000 bus shelters, it’s hard to be everywhere at once.
“If any community members want to reach out to ATU 1005, we will work with you to do what we can to help in these communities to try to address these issues with Metro Transit,” Timlin said. “We will work with you because this is affecting all of us.”
Metro Transit has an “adopt a stop” program where residents can keep an eye on a bus shelter and report problems. It hopes to work with community members and bus drivers to come up with solutions.
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO from WNBC-TV in New York City where he covered an array of stories for the station including the Coney Island plane crash, the crane collapse on the city’s east side, 50 shots fired at motorist Sean Bell by New York Police, and a lacrosse team assault at Fairfield High School in Connecticut.
First published on September 28, 2022 / 6:13 PM
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©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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