Probe of transit incident focuses on finding witnesses

BC Transit investigators are hoping two witnesses to an exchange between a bus driver and two of his passengers — an exchange that ended up on YouTube — can shed more light on what happened at the Thompson Rivers University transit exchange on Dec. 4.

Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton said investigators were in Kamloops on Monday, Dec. 10, but left the city with questions still unanswered.

"They just feel like there are two pretty different stories and they're hoping the independent witnesses can get in touch with Kamloops Transit so we can talk to them," Burton said.

"We understand this has become quite a public matter and some people would prefer to stay silent in the background, but I feel we need to have a full picture of what happened in the minutes leading up to this."

The bus driver, a nine-year employee of FirstCanada ULC, the contractor for transit services in Kamloops, is accused of holding two of his passengers against their will at the TRU exchange.

According to a posting on YouTube by TrueLiesCanada, since identified as Bradley Smith, the driver missed a young woman's stop as well as the next stop on the route.

After pulling into the TRU exchange, Smith said the driver locked the bus doors and came to the back of the bus to take a picture of the woman, who was upset.

A verbal confrontation between the woman, the driver and Smith — who videotaped the conversation — ensued. During the video, the two riders can be heard pounding on the doors, demanding to be let out.

As of the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 11, the video, titled "Kamloops BC Transit Driver Kidnaps Passengers", had nearly 60,900 views.

Both BC Transit and FirstCanada are conducting investigations.

Burton said there were two other passengers on the bus during the confrontation.

While a male passenger contacted Kamloops Transit when the story first broke, Burton said transit officials have been unable to reach him since. The other passenger, a woman, has not yet come forward.

Burton said investigators don't feel they can come to definitive conclusions without hearing from the witnesses.

"This is someone's career and reputation and we're hoping they can come forward and better understand the circumstances," Burton said.

While BC Transit was originally expected to release a report on the incident on Wednesday, Dec. 12, Burton said it will likely be some time before any recommendations and findings are made public.

"It's more complicated than it seemed at first blush," she said.



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