GRTC to meet with City Council to discuss public safety

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:09 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:18 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - GRTC will meet with Richmond’s Public Safety Committee to discuss the security of both their passengers and drivers after multiple violent incidents have taken place on city buses.

In the last few months, there have been 35 incidents of verbal or physical assault to bus drivers according to the GRTC. The company said it is a growing and concerning trend that has spiked during the pandemic.

A notable example of this was a GRTC bus driver who was beaten and repeatedly kicked in the head after stopping the bus to help a passenger who appeared to have balance issues.

An angry passenger still on the bus then threatened the operator’s life, saying he would “blow his head off.” As trained to do so, the driver called the police and a supervisor.

While waiting for police to arrive, the driver got off the bus to avoid the passenger. A physical altercation took place and the passenger ended up dragging and kicking the driver in the head multiple times. The incident was caught on video.

Violence on the city buses isn’t limited to bus drivers, but also to their passengers.

On Nov. 10, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot while riding the bus overnight after getting into an altercation with another passenger.

A GRTC spokeswoman and some riders called what unfolded Tuesday night traumatic. Some who use public transportation said vast changes need to happen in the city of Richmond.

GRTC’s Chief Executive Office Julie Timm will meet with the city council on Nov. 23 to discuss proposed changes at 12 p.m. Public comment will be available until 10 a.m.

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