Detroit bus drivers experiencing increase in assaults

January 02, 2020, 6:21 AM

Riding the bus in Detroit often requires street smarts and a cool head. It shouldn't require fighting skills. But sometimes, especially lately, it does, The Detroit News reports

Drivers worry about attacks (Photo: DDOT)

George Hunter leads with an account of a beatdown of a DDOT bus driver by a passenger, during which the driver was yanked from her seat, which left the vehicle rolling without a pilot until it ran over a curb and came to rest in a vacant lot near Mack and Bewick: 

The assault, which was captured on video, is part of a recent spike in attacks on Detroit bus drivers — and the latest in a string of safety concerns going back decades — according to Glenn Tolbert, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, which represents more than 400 DDOT drivers.

"This past month has shown an uptick in assaults on drivers, and they're feeling a little antsy," Tolbert said.

Others aren't convinced such a spike exists, including Detroit Transit Police Chief Ricky Brown, who said some of the incidents weren't assaults at all. 

"I'd say about 20% of the reports were legitimate assaults," Brown said. "When I say legit, I mean someone was punched, or kicked, or spat on, which we also consider an assault."

But the number is still higher. And the attack on the driver in the Mack/Bewick incident left passengers injured as well. 

Drivers have in the past protested due to safety issues. Only eight transit officers are responsible for the entire city.

Read more:  The Detroit News

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