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‘Unprecedented set of attacks’ on Kelowna transit drivers

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‘Unprecedented set of attacks’ on Kelowna transit drivers
‘Unprecedented set of attacks’ on Kelowna transit drivers – May 23, 2016

KELOWNA – It was the worst attack on bus drivers in the history of Kelowna transit, according to the president of the union representing bus drivers.

Lovell says there were a total of four assaults on bus drivers on the Friday of the May long weekend.

“It’s horrific,” says Lovell.

Lovell says the first assault was a verbal one, happening mid-afternoon, with a passenger getting in the face of a driver and threatening to “drag him out of his seat, off the bus and beat him.”

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That night, Lovell says a bus driver was physically assaulted.

“[He was] hit several times in the body, narrowly missing his head, just because we cannot allow bicycles inside the bus.”

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While that driver was in hospital, the next assault transpired, according to Lovell. He says a driver was pepper sprayed in the face.

“[A]nd from the looks of the bus afterwards, it appears the entire pepper spray can was exhausted,” he says.

In the fourth assault, Lovell says a female driver was verbally assaulted and threatened. The series of assaults have left many drivers feeling like a target, says Lovell.

“I’ve been spat on before; I’ve been physically attacked before. It’s quite overwhelming. You never really get over it,” he says.

Lovell calls the assaults on bus drivers an epidemic and the union is asking its members to watch out for each other and make sure their call radios are tuned in.

~ With files from Kimberly Davidson

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