VANCOUVER, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - The union representing TransLink transit
operators is posting a $2000 reward for information leading to the conviction
of a man who viciously assaulted a bus driver on Thursday July 26th in
Steve Sutherland, President of Canadian Auto Workers Local 111, said the
assault was particularly brutal and occurred in the middle of the afternoon.
"The bus driver was punched in the head 10 times, then kicked in the head
when he was knocked to the ground - all for simply asking the rider to see
proof of fare purchase," Sutherland said. "The attacker also made extremely
racist comments about the driver, adding to his distress."
"We are determined as a union to put a stop to these vicious and cowardly
assaults on our members - assaults which not only seriously injure bus drivers
but put all passengers at risk as well," Sutherland said. "We believe that the
$2000 reward we will post every time such a driver assault occurs will help
discourage such attacks."
Jim Houlahan, Vice-President of CAW 111, said it was particularly
disheartening that despite quick action by the Vancouver Police Department to
arrest a suspect and accomplice, the police were forced to release the man
when a positive identification could not be made by witnesses.
"We are hoping that posting a $2000 reward may bring forward additional
witnesses whose information would allow police to charge the attacker and have
him put in jail," Houlahan said. "We encourage anyone who witnessed this crime
or anyone who can identify the attacker to contact the Vancouver Police
Department at 604-717-2680 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)."
Houlahan said there were 241 assaults against drivers in 2006 and there
have already been 123 so far in 2007.
Houlahan said drivers are pleased with the recent announcement by
TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company that close-circuit cameras will be
installed in buses to discourage attacks and allow perpetrators to be
identified. And the union supports a recent decision to make buses a
"fare-paid" zone where transit police, not drivers, enforce payment of fares.
"Unfortunately our driver was only doing his job in asking for proof of
payment when he was attacked and this guy went crazy on him," Houlahan said.
But the union is also arguing that TransLink's complicated multi-zone
fare structure causes problems for drivers when riders are asked to upgrade
For further information:
For further information: Jim Houlahan at (604) 519-1110 ext *2287 or
cell (604) 992-1782; or Steve Sutherland at (604) 519-1110 ext *2288 or cell
(604) 992-1781; or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at (604) 844-7827
or cell 778-896-0964; Website: www.caw111.com