Watch: Bus driver attacked, RTA adding protection

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team shows an RTA bus driver attacked behind the wheel, just the latest driver targeted. And, we’ve found something being done about it.

We’ve learned RTA is taking steps to give all of its bus drivers new protection.

RTA has been putting plexiglass shields surrounding the area where bus drivers sit behind the wheel.

The latest attack happened last month on Cleveland’s northeast side.

Security video shows a rider pull a cord to signal he wants off the bus. Then, as the driver stops the bus, the passenger walks up. On his way off the bus, he punches the driver in the face, attacking her for no apparent reason.

The passenger then left the bus and took off on foot down the block.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 President William Nix told us he’s glad to see the plexiglass protection.

“You don’t know when a person is standing up on you, what they’re gonna do. You don’t know their intentions. You gotta be worried,” Nix said.

Weeks ago, we showed you a rider threatening to shoot a driver over being told to wear a mask because of COVID-19.

Not long before that, video showed shots fired at an RTA bus driver from a passing car.

In the past, we’ve even seen drivers, on rare occasions, getting into fistfights with passengers.

“No one should come to work and worry. Worry about, ‘Am I gonna be jumped on, or assaulted or punched?’” Nix said.

RTA said you’ll see the shields around drivers on all buses by the end of this month. No single, particular case led to this.  RTA said it has talked about this on and off for a few years, and it considered several different options.

In the past, many drivers said they didn’t want the shields. Now, things have changed.

Nix spoke of what’s changed, saying, “The attacks. The assaults. Now they want it.”

In the latest cases, the driver punched in the face wrote a statement for RTA police. It said, in part, “He punched me in my face. Want to press charge if caught.”

Not clear if that driver will get justice. But, now, all bus drivers will get more protection.

RTA said train operators already have enclosures, so they do not need more safety measures on the rapid trains.

If you know anything about the case of the bus driver getting punched in the face, call RTA police.

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