Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New fallout from a fight between a high schooler and an MTA bus driver as police investigate more violence on another bus.
Mike Hellgren spoke to a bus driver for her insight on the brawl.
Here’s what’s new with the investigation: the MTA says the driver’s suspension is without pay and she did mention the incident in a report but they had no idea how serious it was until they saw the video.
The MTA bus driver you see in an all-out brawl with a passenger in downtown Baltimore is no longer behind the wheel and the video–first shown on WJZ–is getting nationwide attention.
“It may have been just her snap day,” said regular rider Debbie Williams.
“She should never have put her hands on her. That’s what I’m saying,” said regular rider Rob Williams.
Police are now trying to determine the backstory–and they’re not just dealing with this case. There was another fight on a bus Wednesday afternoon at North and Gay. It spilled outside and into a bloody mess.
Few know the stresses better than bus drivers themselves.
“It’s very stressful and you never know what else was going on with this particular driver,” said a bus driver.
That driver–who asked WJZ not to show her face because she’s not authorized to speak publicly–says she gets cursed at every day, particularly by young students.
“They’re just really, really disrespectful. They really are. It’s outrageous how they act,” she said.
A few years ago, the number of beatings and stabbings got so bad, the MTA launched a campaign urging riders to be civil.
“We should have zero tolerance with regard to any kind of violence on our buses. This is simply not right,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings in 2007.
This isn’t the first time an MTA driver has been in trouble. Last year, a driver was accused of stabbing a passenger in Baltimore County and found guilty of assault.
Our driver says the MTA does give extensive training on how to cope.
“We have de-escalation classes. We have stress reliever classes. We have it all,” she said. “We’re not allowed to put our hands on anyone unless it’s directly in defense of ourselves.”
Whether that happened here is now in the hands of MTA’s investigators. The MTA has not said how long that investigation could take.
The driver has been on the job since 2003. The agency has not identified her and would not say whether she’s been disciplined in the past.