RTA Drivers Describe Life Behind the Wheel

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CLEVELAND -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, held a special hearing Tuesday to talk about the safety of transit operators and passengers and the fate of bus driver Artis Hughes, 59, who threw that now infamous uppercut seen in a viral video.

The RTA Board also got a glimpse of what life is like behind the wheel of a bus. Thirteen-year veteran and para-transit driver Sherill Hamilton testified about what she’s experienced.

"Rocks thrown at the bus that could have injured me or caused an accident. Spit at," said Hamilton.

That is allegedly what happened to Hughes during an incident with passenger Shidea Lane, 25, on a bus in Beachwood in September.

RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese said a closed-door pre-termination meeting with Hughes is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"Tomorrow will be the first opportunity where we have, or actually I have, to listen to his side of the story," said Calabrese. "I'm not anticipating on anything happening other than to listen and to learn."

ATU Local 268 president William Nix, Sr., said the entire union still stands behind Hughes but is not optimistic.

“That's an indication that they feel that they have just cause," said Nix. "The suspension is over, so you're telling me you're not supporting my member, because if you're telling us to come down for a pre-termination hearing, now is the time, you're telling us you're terminating him from his employment. And we can't have that."

Hughes is scheduled to appear in court November 6 to answer to a charge of misdemeanor assault.

Lane faces a charge of disorderly conduct.

For more on this story, including coverage on both Lane's side and Hughes' side of the incident, click here.