A Metro Bus operator on the X2 bus line at 8th and H St. Northeast had a knife pulled on him this morning while the bus was carrying passengers, said the Amalgomated Transit Union (ATU) 689 which represents Metro Bus operators. In Tuesday’s instance the assailant threatened to kill the bus operator with a knife as he reached around the bus shield, they said.
A spokesman for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said in a statement that shortly before noon Tuesday, Metro Transit Police arrested a 20-year-old Northeast man near where the driver had stopped the bus st the interesection of H and Eighth Streets NE. He was charged with Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Threats to Do Bodily Harm.
The WMATA representative said the man had threatened the operator after a fare dispute, telling the driver “When I see you again, Ima kill you [sic].”
This is the most recent incident on the X2 route. On August 26th, a woman threw urine on the Driver of an X2 route Metro Bus after the driver reportedly told her to “Have a nice day.” She later turned herself in to authorities.
After that incident a group of Metro bus operators staged a protest against what they called unsafe working conditions. Operators said route delays were caused by requests for supervisor or police support on their routes.
ATU Local 689, the union representing bus operators, mechanics, maintenance and clerical employees of WMATA is calling for an immediate increase in transit police presence. The union says the assailant in Tuesday’s incident is a known repeat offender who has threatened, pulled out a gun, and even spit on multiple bus operators.
The union is also calling on the legislators of Washington DC to enhance protections for transit workers by classifying assaults against transit workers as a felony, and allow Metro to ban repeat offenders from the entire system.
“Transit assaults are at an epidemic level and Metro must address this urgent issue of safety so that workers and the riding public are protected,” ATU Local 689 said in a press release.