The dispute reportedly began after 23-year-old Rudolph Alexander boarded the bus with an empty metro card. When the driver, Robert Volkens, asked him to get off the bus, he allegedly refused. Another passenger eventually paid Alexander’s fare. But when the bus stopped at Avenue H and Nostrand Ave., Alexander allegedly spat on the bus driver twice and got off.
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Perhaps the most well-known dispute between a bus driver and a passenger took place in Cleveland in October. Shi’dea Lane boarded a city bus and allegedly did not have the fare to pay for her ride. The bus driver, Artis Hughes, reportedly asked Lane to leave but she refused, saying that she was looking for the fare in her purse. A heated argument ensued that ended with the driver uppercutting Lane after she allegedly spat on him. The incident was video-recorded via cell phone and went viral. Hughes was fired for his actions.
In October, New York State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) introduced legislation that would require all buses to have protective partitions for drivers. Currently, fewer than 15 percent of the MTA’s 4,600 fleet of local buses have shields, and only 662 buses have surveillance cameras.
This year alone, there have been at least 71 felony assaults against bus drivers in New York City.