Monday September 01, 2014





B.C. Transit seeks witnesses in bus confrontation

Incident was posted on YouTube

B.C. Transit hopes two witnesses who were aboard a Kamloops bus during a confrontation between a man and a woman and the driver will contact them to assist with the investigation.

The dispute on Dec. 4 was captured on video by, Bradley Smith, who was involved in the confrontation, and triggered widespread concerns as well as an investigation into the driver’s conduct.

Pending the outcome of that investigation, the driver has been suspended with pay. To date, B.C. Transit has met with Smith and the female passenger, who is audibly upset in the video.

But there were two more passengers, a male and female other than the pair shown on the video.

“(Investigators) feel those passengers could provide important points of view into what happened,” said Meribeth Burton, spokeswoman for the Crown corporation. “The male got a hold of B.C. Transit, but we haven’t been able to reach him since.”

That male disembarked before the bus ended its route at the TRU exchange; the second woman, who has yet to step forward, rode the bus right through and must have witnessed events as they grew into a confrontation.

“She’s the one we really want to talk to. We hope she comes forward.”

They are both urged to contact Kamloops Transit at 250-376-1216.

“This is a person’s career and a very serious matter,” Burton said, suggesting the driver could face severe discipline.

There is an allegation that there was a confrontation with one of the female passengers, a circumstance that led to the incident on Dec. 4. Knowledge of the earlier incident may also help to inform the investigation, since the driver’s behaviour is puzzling.

“We need to have a full explanation. I think anybody who travels on B.C. Transit buses expects a high degree of customer service. The level of anxiety in the woman’s voice was troubling for me.”

There might not have been an investigation but for the YouTube video that drew so much attention.

B.C. Transit is considering the possibility of installing cameras with audio aboard its buses in the future. A pilot project is testing the possibility on buses in Victoria, Burton said.

Notices on each bus notify passengers of the camera’s use.

“That certainly would have come in handy in this case,” Burton said.

B.C.’s Privacy and Information Commissioner has ruled that the corporation would be allowed to retain the information from such a system for only seven days. TransLink, which uses a similar system on light rapid transit in Vancouver, is permitted the same.


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