Video: After attack, Detroit bus drivers refuse to work
updated 11/4/2011 4:15:04 PM ET 2011-11-04T20:15:04

Public buses resumed rolling on the city's streets Friday afternoon after Detroit's mayor promised drivers increased police patrols and security checks at stations.

The drivers halted service throughout the city on Friday morning, saying they were scared for their safety because of an attack a day earlier on a fellow driver.

“There will be a zero tolerance for negative behavior toward our bus drivers,” Mayor Dave Bing announced during a news conference, The Detroit News reported.

“We are not going to allow these hooligans to threaten our city.”

In his Twitter feed, the mayor said drivers had ended a work stoppage and public buses resumed their routes. "DDOT buses are now back in service," the mayor posted on Twitter.

Union officials said the mayor's plan included improved security measures on bus routes, including random pullovers of buses at identified trouble spots, the News reported.

Detroit Department of Transportation drivers showed up for work Friday morning, but refused to get on their buses. Commuters were stranded at bus stops across the city. The Detroit Free Press reported the group of drivers numbered 100.

The Thursday attack of a bus driver, which was caught on tape, stoked concern among the other bus operators, NBC station WDIV-TV reported.

Henry Gaffney, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, which represents drivers, told local TV station WWJT that the drivers are "scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off."

"It’s not just for my members, because if the drivers aren’t safe, the passengers aren't safe," Gaffney told the newspaper. "This is not the first incident. This is the incident that broke the camel’s back."

He described the incident to the Free Press, saying the driver was pulling away from the Rosa Parks Transit Station in downtown at about 1 p.m. when a half-dozen men between the ages of 16 and 22 began yelling for him to stop for a buddy. The driver has worked for DDOT for 22 years.

Treated for injuries
"They got mad, he got off to tell the service inspector inside, and the next thing he knows they’re on him, beating him," Gaffney told the newspaper. Gaffney said it took police 30 minutes to arrive, according to the Free Press.

The driver was treated at a Detroit hospital for injuries and released, Gaffney told the newspaper.

Friday morning, a few residents said they were disappointed when their bus failed to show up.

"I'm standing here stranded," Barbara Johnson told WDIV's Lauren Podell. She said she had been waiting at the 8 Mile and Woodward Avenue stop Friday morning when media crews pulled up and broke the news of the stoppage.

"I don’t know how I am going to get home and how I am going to get to work," Johnson said.

"It’s not fair to people who have to wake up early in the morning and take the buses, especially when its their only transportation," Kelly Edwards told WDIV.

The walkout did not affect public school buses.

© 2013 Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments