A man who punched a Greater Victoria bus driver in the head Wednesday was quickly grabbed by fellow passengers and held until police could arrive, Saanich police say.
The 54-year-old driver was helping a passenger in a wheelchair exit through the bus’s front door near Uptown shopping centre on Douglas Street when the 21-year-old man tried to push his way around them.
He was told by the driver to use the back door, but the man refused. When the driver blocked the man’s way off the bus, and again told him to use the back door, the passenger struck the driver’s head, said Saanich police.
The two men fell to the floor in the ensuing struggle. The attacker then attempted to flee. As he got off the bus, however, he was grabbed by several other passengers and passers-by, who held him until police arrived.
A witness who said he was one of four people who held the assailant until police arrived told CHEK News that the driver was punched three or four times in the face.
The driver, who has 18 years’ experience, was sent to hospital with minor wounds. He was released the same day and received peer counselling at B.C. Transit headquarters.
Police said the man has a criminal record, no fixed address and an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
He now faces a charge of assault and could make an appearance in court as early as Thursday morning.
B.C. Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton commended the passengers for their actions, saying drivers have to put up with disgruntled riders far too often.
In Greater Victoria, police were contacted in an estimated 56 assaults on drivers this year, compared with 67 last year, according to B.C. Transit records.
Those police reports could involve threats of violence, spitting on drivers and physical assaults.
“Our drivers see this more than people think,” Burton said. “I’m glad the community came through today for one of our operators who needed it.”
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