09/19/2013 09:11 am ET Updated Nov 19, 2013

Colorblind Bus Driver In NYC Wants Job Back


By James Fanelli

MIDTOWN -- A city bus driver who recently lost his job for being colorblind wants the green light to get back behind the wheel.

MTA driver Jose Cruz was grounded after he flunked a crucial test for any road warrior --  identifying the colors of a traffic signal, court records show.

When the MTA put the brakes on Cruz's career, the city's transit union demanded a hearing with an arbitrator to decide whether he's fit to stay on the job, according to documents.

The arbitration was initially set for Sept. 11, but was temporarily postponed when the MTA filed a lawsuit to halt the process from going any further, citing medically justified termination.

On Sept. 27, a Brooklyn Civil Supreme Court judge will listen to the MTA's case for throwing out the arbitration process.

State law requires that every two years MTA bus drivers pass an agency-administered vision test.

When Cruz had his most recent examination, he couldn't differentiate between red, green and yellow lights, according to the MTA's court filing.

The MTA claims that Cruz's condition isn't a grievance that the union can bring to arbitration.

The agency declined to comment, and the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cruz could not be reached for comment.

The MTA's filing does not explain how Cruz passed previous vision tests, but it says his personal physician had previously diagnosed him with a red-pigment color deficiency.

Despite the deficiency, the physician had certified him as meeting the requirement, according to the MTA.