RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond bus driver will be able to return to the road after he was assaulted by a passenger on Oct. 11 – and placed on suspension by the Greater Richmond Transit Authority.
Video captured by a bystander shows the driver, standing outside his bus, being knocked to the ground by an unidentified assailant, who proceeds to kick the driver in the head.
According to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1220, which represents GRTC workers, the driver was placed on administrative suspension after the incident. The assault took place on Route 1 near Chamberlayne Avenue.
“This is one of many incidents that has happened to our members being assaulted on the job,” said Local 1220 President Maurice Carter. “From the video footage of the incident, you can clearly see that the driver tried to avoid the situation and was a victim of this assault.”
The union demanded GRTC reverse the suspension and take steps to protect drivers from assault and harassment.
“Protecting, not punishing drivers should be their priority,” Carter said.
On Nov. 5, GRTC CEO Julie Timm publicly apologized to the driver, saying they were working to make things right.
“I have directed staff to process back-pay for the one-day suspension and remove the discipline from the operator’s record,” Timm said. “I am personally apologizing to our Operator for the suspension which added undue stress on him after being assaulted.”
According to Timm, the decision came after GRTC reviewed internal security footage, and determined that the driver was not at fault.
She also said GRTC was undertaking “a full review of all of our safety and communications protocols.”