While public transportation is overwhelmingly safe and moves millions of people each day without incident, the past month might have you thinking differently.
First, the infamous bus driver “uppercut” video went viral after a Cleveland, Ohio bus driver was caught on camera viciously beating a woman who spat on him, and now a Baltimore bus driver is making news for a similar brawl.
On Monday, a fight between a bus driver and teenage passenger broke out and quickly hit the web. The video, which does not capture the beginning of the conflict, shows the two women engaged in a serious fight. The teen is seen kicking and punching the driver several times until the older woman overpowers her and pins her down.
The bus driver repeatedly tells the teen, “You wanna fight somebody? Does it make you feel better?”
When asked why she and the teen got into a fight, the bus driver tells a passenger, “It’s about being disrespectful.”
The timing of this incident, just a month after the vicious Cleveland fight, has caused many to ask what kind of conflict-resolution training MTA workers receive. According to Terry Owens, spokesmen for the Maryland MTA, drivers are taught to simply steer clear of negative interactions with passengers.
“While they receive some conflict-resolution training, our procedure is for operators not to engage a passenger if there’s a problem on a bus,” Owens said. “Our operators are trained to call a supervisor. If there appears to be any serious threat of bodily harm, then they are expected to call radio dispatch and have a police officer come to the scene.”
The driver and the teen were both questioned by Maryland MTA officials and the police, and the driver has been suspended pending an investigation into the incident.