May 23, 2016 - 11:08 AM
KELOWNA – Four bus drivers in Kelowna were the victims of assault in one day, and the transit union is demanding action from police and the transit authority.
Friday, May 20 was the worst attack on bus drivers in the history of the Kelowna Regional Transit System, according to a media release from Amalgamated Transit Union local 1722.
Union president Scott Lovell says there were four assaults on bus drivers on that day.
“While one assault is too much, four is inconceivable and of epidemic proportions,” Lovell says in the release.
He says it started Friday afternoon when a passenger “got directly in the face” of a driver and threatened to drag him out of the bus and beat him.
Later that night, when another driver refused to let a passenger get on his bus with a bicycle, the driver was “hit several times in the body.”
Lovell says another driver was pepper-sprayed in the face by a drunk “who was using the bus as a pub.”
“From the looks of the bus afterwards, it appears the entire pepper spray can was emptied,” he says in the release. “The screams on the radio for help were… deafening.”
The fourth assault happened later that night when a female driver was “forcibly confronted” by a passenger who wasn’t allowed to get on the bus through the rear doors due to a safety concern.
Lowell say all four of the assaults happened while drivers were doing their jobs in a “professional, respectful and safety conscious manner.”
The union wants the local transit authority to install shields on buses to protect the drivers.
“There are policing options to enforce the laws, protect the drivers and the public but they are not in place on buses outside the Lower Mainland," he says.
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