The union that represents most of Metro’s 11,000 employees said it plans to launch a PR campaign this week to encourage riders to support its efforts to improve safety on buses.

Gary Garnett, assistant business agent of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 , said Monday that union leaders would be placing prepaid postcards on buses for riders.

This week the union plans to distribute about 5,000 cards in the effort, dubbed “Operation Safety First.” The cards are addressed to General Manager Richard Sarles. The union is asking riders to fill in their personal information and mail the cards to Metro to ensure that the transit authority adheres to its “motto to ensure that safety is a number priority for everyone who rides” on the system.

“We want to get the riding public to get their ideas out there for safety,” Garnett said. “We’re trying to get a coalition with the public.”

“A lot of times the public may have ideas as to what they think is safe and we want to hear their ideas,” he said.

In recent weeks there have been three attacks on bus drivers by passengers, according to Metro and union officials. Bus operators brought up their safety concerns at a recent town-hall meeting and they have also expressed concerns about whether radios and cameras on their vehicles work.

Metro’s management has said they are adding more transit police officers on certain bus routes, as needed, and are working with the union to address concerns about bus operations.

Garnett said the union’s leaders want to hear from bus riders because “they have to deal with obnoxious people, too” when a disruption occurs on a vehicle.

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