Bus drivers rally in Surrey for safer workplace

SURREY – Coast Mountain bus drivers rallied outside Surrey provincial court Friday to lobby authorities for better protection for bus drivers.


Just after, 23-year-old Brandon John Watterworth – charged with robbery and breach of undertaking or recognizance in connection to a Feb. 3 incident involving a driver – had a court appearance inside.


Watterworth is expected to appear by video today (July 17) to find out when he will be sentenced.


At the time of the incident, Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan said the suspect was "rapping and swearing profusely" on a bus he boarded at 168th Street and Fraser Highway.


The bus driver told him over the PA system to stop swearing, but he didn’t, she said.


When the bus arrived at the Surrey Central bus loop, police say the man allegedly assaulted the bus driver, punching him in the face and grabbing his glasses, then ran toward the SkyTrain and came back and assaulted him two more times. The driver suffered cuts and bruises to his head and face but was not hospitalized.


He was arrested two days after the incident. Watterworth is well known to police with over 100 previous recorded encounters including a carrying a concealed weapons charge and assaulting a police officer.


During the rally before Watterworth’s hearing Friday, Ruth Armstrong, a Unifor 111 officer, hoped that the accused would be charged with assault as soon as possible because Watterworth is receiving double time by remaining in custody.


"I’m hoping that the assault on our operator sees some sentencing and some jail time," she said.


Armstrong went on to say that there are currently 30 cases of attacks on drivers going through the court system.


"It’s really disheartening on one hand that we have that many assaults and there are that many going on the system. On the other hand, because of our members coming, transit police and security and the company attending these court hearings, crown council is really paying attention and cases that wouldn’t have gone to court before are now going to court. It is making a difference," Armstrong said.


The union officer went on to say that assault is much more than what happens at the time of the attack and drivers have to deal with much more than bruises.


"Assault is just not a 10-second enactment. It’s something that goes on forever," Armstrong said. "The average time off an operator takes when they’re assaulted is 54 days and there’s a lot of mental distress."


The victim of the attack – who is still off work – was present at the hearing, but declined to speak to the media.



Just Posted

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

Auditor general to release ‘executive expenses’ report for Surrey School District

Report is to determine whether employer-paid expenses ‘comply’ with applicable district policies

Grieving South Surrey mom ‘disappointed’ province not moving quicker to fix recovery homes

Min. Judy Darcy says new regulations, effective Dec. 1, follow ‘many horror stories’

Potters’ House of Horrors sets date for opening weekend in Surrey

The ‘Death Valley Motor Inn’ is an all-new haunted house this year

North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon cleared of conflict allegations

Commissioner finds MLA’s father’s taxi licence doesn’t equal a conflict of interest while working on ride-sharing regulations

Pickle me this: All the outrageous foods at this year’s PNE

Pickled cotton candy, deep-fried chicken skins, and ramen corndogs are just a start

On vaccines, abortion, Goop, doctor Jen Gunter says: ‘I have a duty to speak up’

She speaks out on menstruation, the wellness industry and vaccines

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Mammoth sturgeon catch was ‘a fish of a lifetime’ for Chilliwack guide

Sturgeon was so enormous it tied for largest specimen every tagged and released in the Fraser

Fraser River sea bus proposed to hook into TransLink system

Maple Ridge councillor just wants to start discussion

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

Most Read