NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – Metro Vancouver Transit Police are investigating after a video was shared on social media, showing an aggressive passenger spitting on a local bus driver after repeatedly kicking the closed doors of the bus.
The seven-second video was posted to Facebook on Tuesday, and had already been viewed over 50,000 times by Wednesday morning.
The woman who posted the video says it happened on the 123 bus at around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday afternoon near Hardwick and Canada Way. She says the driver had told the man to step behind the red line but the passenger wouldn’t, adding he was “very rude and disrespectful” to the driver, who was calm.
“It happened so fast that my son was so scared cause he started to kick the door and that when I started to film,” says the woman in the comments.
She adds the man appeared to be intoxicated and the incident was terrifying.
Transit Police confirm the bus was heading toward New Westminster on Canada Way and that the man had refused to step behind the red line when asked by the driver.
“Eventually the bus operator made the decision to pull the bus over and that’s where we see the video and what takes place,” says Sergeant Clint Hampton.
“From past incidences, anybody involved in something like this, you’re gonna be a little shaken up, that’s just natural.”
Hampton adds the investigation is in the early stages.
This comes just days before Metro Vancouver bus drivers plan to take job action, in part because the union says Coast Mountain Bus Company has failed to “meaningfully address workers’ concerns about working conditions.”
Many comments on the Facebook video point out that it highlights why drivers are calling for better and safer conditions, and why they want to strike to get their demands met.
“And people wonder why they’re going on strike,” wrote one Facebook user. “Can you blame them for going on strike? No one should have to put up with this at work,” wrote another.
Unifor Locals 111 and 2200, which represent bus drivers and SeaBus operators, issued a 72-hour strike notice Monday night after talks with Coast Mountain Bus Company broke down.
“It’s not hard to understand what is happening here. The company is showing little respect for the difficult working conditions that our members must face every day,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, in a news release on Monday.
Earlier this month, 99 per cent of employees voted in favour of strike action. They’ve been without a new contract since March, with wages and benefits on the table.
If a new contract isn’t reached by 8 a.m. on Friday, workers will take job action. While that won’t initially include a full work stoppage, it could range from work-to-rule to rolling strike action.