Kamloops transit driver suspended with pay
A Kamloops bus driver accused through YouTube of holding passengers against their will has been suspended with pay as BC Transit and local contractor FirstCanada ULC mount internal investigations.
A local man known online as TrueLiesCanada posted video of an incident between the driver, himself and a young woman to the popular streaming-video website two days ago, calling it "Kamloops BC Transit Driver Kidnaps Passengers."
According to the man, the driver "blew through" the woman's stop and the one after that, then parked the bus at the Thompson Rivers University exchange and locked the doors.
"He then comes to the back of the bus, and photographs her," he wrote in a commentary posted along with the video, "like WTF?"
The video shows the driver out of his seat, talking to the woman — whose face is obscured by the angle of the camera.
"You're the worst bus driver," the woman says, sounding upset. "All I wanted to do is get off at my stop."
BC Transit spokesperson Maribeth Burton said there are several things that concern her about the video.
Under the circumstances, BC Transit policy calls for the driver to stay seated and call a transit supervisor. Neither of those things happened, though Burton said the driver has been with the company nine years and would be aware of the policies.
"The doors would never be closed at an exchange with passengers onboard," Burton said. "There might not be the back door open, but there would be no cause or occasion where the doors would be closed when people are at the end of the line."
Burton said BC Transit first became aware of the issue when the driver filed an incident report about the confrontation at the end of his shift on Tuesday, Dec. 4, as is standard policy.
However, Burton said, that report doesn't mention the closed doors or other aspects of the incident that are clearly visible.
"When we saw the video, it was very different from what the incident report read," she said.
The man behind the video also filed a formal complaint and has spoken with transit officials several times.
While FirstCanada, the transit contractor which employs the driver, launched its own investigation shortly after the incident was reported, a senior BC Transit staff member is also headed to Kamloops on Monday, Dec. 10, to conduct a second investigation. The results of that probe are expected on Tuesday, Dec. 11, or Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Burton said she is not aware of any past incidents involving the driver.
"I would say this is a very, highly unusual — I've never heard of an incident like this before," she said.
But, she noted, there is likely another side to the story that has not yet been heard.
"It would be wonderful to hear from other people who were on the bus, because I'm sure there were other factors that led up to this incident," Burton said.
A manager for FirstCanada declined to comment on the incident, telling KTW the company is directing questions to BC Transit.