DDOT bus drivers staging 'sick out' protests over safety concerns, causing delays for riders

(WXYZ) - The Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit is typically hopping with the sounds of DDOT buses engines and the noise of riders trying to make their way from one bus to another. This morning though all that changed as bus drivers made themselves clear. 

They want better working conditions and something needs to happen to help them provide better service to the more than 100,000 daily DDOT riders.

VIDEO: In August a man was asked to get off a DDOT bus after he was seen smoking a crack pipe.

Seneca Arnold is a security guard downtown and has trouble walking. He works long 10 hour shifts standing on marble top floors so the bus saves him long walks. This morning he came to the Rosa Parks station he learned the buses weren't going to be rolling through.

"I'm p'd off.  My feet is killing me. I work 10 hours, 4 days a week and you telling me no buses because they're on strike?," Arnold asked. "You say on strike because they're getting assaulted, well they on they phones.  They missing people stop," Arnold said.

Now Arnold will have to spend money he'd rather spend on getting his child shoes and get a cab home. However he does agree with one issue in particular the drivers are raising.

"It be overcrowded," he says. "Grand River bus used to be 24-7 and used to be running like water. I get on there and I got damn near, sorry, I got people all up in my face," he said speaking about the overcrowding.

Yehya El-Houssami relies on the bus, too. He is a freshman at Wayne State University and takes the tunnel bus from Windsor to the Rosa Parks station then counts on DDOT to get him to the campus.

"Sometimes the buses are overcrowded but drivers are always nice. They never really do anything wrong, really," El-Houssami says about his experience riding the bus.

If the "sick-out" continues or drivers don't show up for work, the problem Yehya will have going forward is getting to school, "either my dad will have to take me because we don't have enough money for another car and my dad works so he might have to take me to school or I'm going to have to start taking a cab."

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