Bus Driver Stabbed by Passenger Raises Concerns About Safety of Metro’s Bus System

Bus Driver Stabbed by Passenger Raises Concerns About Safety of Metro’s Bus System

A shocking incident unfolded in Willowbrook on Saturday night when a bus driver was stabbed by a passenger, leaving Metro’s bus drivers and passengers concerned about their safety. The attack, captured on a video circulating on social media, occurred less than 24 hours after another stabbing incident on a bus in Silver Lake and less than a month after a bus hijacking and crash in downtown Los Angeles.

John Ellis, who represents six union locals accounting for 5,000 bus and rail operators at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, expressed his worries about the safety of their members. Ellis has been collaborating with Metro to develop a fully encased protective barrier to prevent such attacks, but the process has been slow due to bureaucratic red tape.

The number of assaults on Metro’s bus and train operators has been on the rise, with 168 reported in 2023, a slight increase from the previous year. These assaults range from being spat on to being stabbed, reflecting a national trend of tripled assaults on transit workers over the past 15 years, according to research from the Urban Institute.

Lindiwe Rennert, a senior researcher associate at the think tank, found a statistically significant relationship between assaults on transit workers and income inequality and civil unrest. She suggests that eliminating fares could help alleviate some of the stresses. However, flooding areas with law enforcement is not a long-term solution, as it only temporarily reduces crime.

The limited federal data on transit worker assaults fails to capture the full extent of violence or battery experienced by these workers. New standards requiring agencies to report a wider range of assaults are expected to shed more light on the issue in the coming year.

Gina Osborn, Metro’s recently fired chief of safety and security officer, criticized law enforcement agencies contracted with Metro for their lack of coordination and collaboration in prosecuting assault cases. Osborn supports the idea of creating a Metro-run police agency to address these concerns.

Law enforcement agencies, such as the Los Angeles Police Department and the county Sheriff’s Department, have dedicated units assigned to patrol buses and have seen a decrease in Part 1 crimes on buses, trains, and stations. However, there is still room for improvement in terms of coordination and prosecution.

The suspect in the recent bus driver stabbing, Darnell M. Bray, was identified through video footage and is currently being sought for attempted murder and a potential hate crime. The attack appears to have been fueled by drug abuse and untreated mental illness.

Metro spokesman Jose Ubaldo expressed sadness over the senseless act of violence and highlighted the ongoing crises of drug abuse and untreated mental illness plaguing the nation.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. It is truly disheartening to hear about incidents like these where bus drivers, who are just doing their job, become victims of violence. This incident highlights the need for increased security measures and support for public transportation workers. It is crucial for authorities to address these safety concerns promptly and effectively to ensure the well-being of both bus drivers and passengers. Everyone deserves to feel safe while using public transportation, and incidents like this should serve as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing safety in our communities.

  2. I highly recommend the use of personal safety devices such as pepper spray or personal alarms for both bus drivers and passengers. These small and easily accessible tools can provide an added layer of protection in case of any unforeseen incidents. It’s always better to be prepared and have a way to defend oneself in such situations. Stay safe!

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