Bloody fight leads to calls for better protections for bus drivers in West Van
The union representing bus drivers in West Vancouver is calling for better protections for drivers after the latest incident of violence on board.
According to an email from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 134, which represents Blue Bus drivers, a violent and bloody fight broke out aboard a moving bus on Wednesday afternoon.
Cornel Neagu, president of ATU Local 134, said the fight shows that more safety measures are needed in West Vancouver and Metro Vancouver to protect passengers and drivers.
“A rider boarded a Blue Bus at Marine Drive and 20 Street and immediately began harassing other passengers,” Neagu said, after speaking with the bus driver involved. “Another passenger intervened to attempt to stop the verbal assaults, and a fight then broke out on the bus, with a lot of blood being shed. The suspect was subdued and arrested on the bus by West Vancouver police.”
Union frustrated with management response
Neagu says the union is angry that Blue Bus management did not respond appropriately, saying no one asked the driver if he felt well enough to continue on with his shift after the incident or if he needed to speak with a counsellor.
“The driver was put on another bus immediately after his original bus was taken away to remove the bloodstains! We are very frustrated that he was asked to keep operating a bus in traffic after dealing with a very violent and scary incident on his bus,” says Neagu.
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What should happen now?
ATU Local 134 says more safety measures need to be put in place for drivers in West Vancouver as we continue to see violence on buses around Metro Vancouver.
“Only half of the Blue Bus fleet has protective glass around the driver and after 11 pm we have no West Vancouver dispatchers to deal with emergency safety calls – they go to TransLink dispatchers who then have to find police or security officers in the local area,” he said.
Neagu added that the Blue Bus system in West Vancouver has many women drivers who work at night, and the union is particularly concerned for their safety.
He is calling on the provincial and federal governments for more action as we see more instances of incidents involving mental health and addiction crises that are impacting the safety of everyone.
ATU Local 134 has 150 members who operate and maintain West Vancouver’s Blue Bus system of 64 buses.
Daily Hive has reached out to Blue Bus for comment.