Union calls for more safety measures after ‘bloody, violent’ fight on West Vancouver bus 

Click to play video: 'Bus drivers demand safety measures after West Vancouver bus fight'
Bus drivers demand safety measures after West Vancouver bus fight
Bus drivers in West Vancouver are demanding heightened safety measures after a bloody fight took place on board Metro Vancouver transit Thursday afternoon. – Apr 14, 2023

The union that represents West Vancouver bus drivers is speaking out after yet another violent incident on Metro Vancouver transit.

ATU Local 134 president Cornel Neagu said a “bloody and violent” fight broke out between two passengers on Wednesday afternoon.

Someone boarded a bus at Marine Drive and 20 Street and began verbally harassing other passengers, and shortly afterward, a second passenger intervened, according to the union.

“(The) passenger intervened to attempt to stop the verbal assaults and a fight broke out on the bus, with a lot of blood being shed,” Neagu said.

“The suspect was subdued and arrested on the bus by West Vancouver police.”

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The union is calling for more safety measures for both drivers and passengers. Only half of West Vancouver buses have protective glass around the driver and after 11 p.m. drivers have no West Vancouver dispatchers to deal with safety calls, the union said.

The union made previous comments that the driver was not supported by Blue Bus, but on Saturday, April 15, the union retracted those statements.

“West Vancouver District has informed Cornel Neagu, president of ATU Local 134, that it has evidence contrary to the union’s news release and the union, therefore, wishes to retract some statements in its original release and provide complete information,” union staff said.

“Based on new information from the employer, the union acknowledges that a dispatcher was in contact with the driver of the Blue Bus involved and that the driver indicated he was personally okay and therefore the employer did respond appropriately in this situation.”

Neagu said the union regrets any misunderstandings based on incomplete information it had on Thursday evening.

ATU Local 134 is calling on the province and federal government to take more action to address mental health and addictions as drivers have noticed a rise in problematic passengers who have “serious drug, alcohol and mental health problems” that rely on West Vancouver bus transit.

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Two stabbing incidents in Surrey have the union worried as well, as one led to the death of a 17-year-old this week.

West Vancouver told Global News in a statement that it does not agree with the union’s view that the driver was not supported.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred on a West Vancouver Transit Bus on Wednesday, and that police responded immediately and arrested the person involved,” said Carrie Gadsby, a communication advisor with West Vancouver.

“All appropriate steps were taken with respect to the driver, with the safety protocols developed to address this kind of incident being diligently followed to ensure the safety of all involved.”

Click to play video: 'Transit Police on recent violence and efforts made to keep passengers safe'
Transit Police on recent violence and efforts made to keep passengers safe

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