Councillor hopes incident won't hinder transit improvements | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Councillor hopes incident won't hinder transit improvements

Still shot taken from a YouTube video
Image Credit: (SOURCE: YouTube)

UPDATE: Dec. 6, 4:19 p.m.

A Kamloops councillor is concerned a recent online video does more harm than good for Kamloops transit services.

"Because I'm always trying to encourage people to try transit, that would be my main concern—the negativity," said Coun. Donovan Cavers.

The YouTube video, posted on Dec. 4, revealed two transit users accusing a bus driver of trapping them on board after missing their stops.

"It's concerning if it's becoming a big deal," Cavers said of the video.

Cavers has fought to increase transit services in Kamloops and takes the bus himself on average of twice a day.

He said the bad publicity may prevent people from taking public transit which could prevent further funding.

"Obviously to increase transit it's sort of the chicken and the egg thing," he said. "If a few people decide not to (take the bus), it would hinder the quality of service. They might have actually done more harm than good."

Cavers is concerned over the negative publicity with recent efforts by the City to increase public transit services.

"We had the largest increase in transit hours in the last budget," Cavers said, noting about 5,500 hours of service were added.

He also said two staff members were recently hired in the fall to manage scheduling conflicts and complaints.

While Cavers did not recognize the driver in the video, he said bus drivers have gone past his stop before and corrected the issue immediately.

"This is a very unfortunate and unusual circumstance. Generally drivers are very nice," he said. "It doesn't reflect good on that particular bus driver."

He said in the grand scheme of things the incident won't set him back in his efforts to improve Kamloops transit.

"I'm encouraging people by leading by example," he said.

"I hope that people won't think that this is something that happens all the time because it obviously doesn't."


Dec. 6, 10:09 a.m.

Bus driver suspended after YouTube video circulates online

A YouTube video of two transit users accusing a Kamloops bus driver of purposefully missing their stops and locking them on the bus is gaining attention online.

"You're supposed to stop when people say stop," one passenger yelled in the video.

"You've just locked us on a bus on purpose," another passenger said.

The video has gained over 300 views since it was posted on Dec. 4.

BC Transit corporate spokesperson, Meribeth Burton, said the company is aware of the video, has suspended the driver and is sending someone to Kamloops on Dec. 10 to complete an investigation.

"We're most upset that the woman's voice sounds agitated. It was unsettling. We take it very seriously," Burton said. "There would be no reason for BC Transit to ever have customers that felt uncomfortable or confined."

While she would not reveal the identity of the driver, she said he has about nine years of experience and has been immediately suspended with pay following his own report of what happened.

"If there's anything that happens on your bus that's out of the ordinary, an incident report is filed," Burton said.

She said the driver appeared calm in the video.

"Obviously there's two sides to every story."

While Burton said both BC Transit and First Canada, the company subcontracted to employ drivers, are investigating the matter, she said the video revealed BC Transit policies broken by the driver.

"Standard policy is if the driver feels the bell was rung too late, the policy is to stop at the next BC Transit stop," she said. "Even from the incident report it seems like that didn't happen."

Burton said this is an isolated incident.

"I've never heard of anything like this before," she said. "It certainly has (our) attention."

Following allegations by one passenger in the video to take the driver to court, Burton said she is unsure where the liability lies.

"At this time there has been no lawsuit filed," she said. "(BC Transit will) see if there could be some sort of restitution or reassurances that could be made."

— Jessica Wallace

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