Bus driver attacked on the job in south Vancouver
A Transit Police officer in this file photo from 2012. (CTV News)
Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:19PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 24, 2019 5:40PM PDT
A Surrey man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting a TransLink bus driver Tuesday night, according to Transit Police and the Vancouver Police Department.
The attack happened around 10:30 p.m., in the area of Cambie Street and 45th Avenue in south Vancouver.
Sgt. Clint Hampton of the Transit Police told CTV News Vancouver a 49-year-old Surrey man allegedly walked down the aisle to the front of the bus and began attacking the bus driver.
"He punched him in the side of the face with a closed fist," said Hampton. "The bus operator and a bystander jumped in and had a bit of a struggle with the suspect."
Hampton said the attacker was hurt in the scuffle before he was removed from the bus, but fled the scene before Vancouver Police and Transit Police were able to detain him.
About an hour later, he said transit security at Metrotown Station recognized the attacker's description from the assault and called Burnaby RCMP, who detained the man until Transit Police arrived.
"We took custody of that male and it was determined he was the suspect involved in the earlier assault," he said.
Hampton confirmed the attacker was brought to hospital for injuries he sustained in the fight, and was later released from custody on a promise to appear in court; the bus driver suffered only minor injuries in the melee.
He was not able to provide any details on what caused the attack or the suspect's demeanour, nor the specific bus route, but said the attack is out of the ordinary.
"It's very odd for somebody to approach a bus operator out of the blue without any acknowledgement and punch them," said Hampton.
Daniel Mountain, a spokesperson with TransLink, said the safety of their employees and passengers is their "top priority," and that safety barriers have been installed in many busses to prevent violence against drivers.
"All new orders of our 40 foot and 60 foot buses have had safety barriers installed since early 2018 and all new buses will continue having them built in," said Mountain.
A March 22 report from the transit operator shows 89 reported assaults on bus drivers in 2018, down from 99 the year prior.