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Baltimore bus driver, passenger brawl video prompts investigation

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-15 19:00:14-05

BALTIMORE (WJZ) - An investigation is underway in Baltimore after a video of a brawling bus driver and passenger gained national attention.

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) says a bus driver never reported the violence on her bus.

However, the MTA bus driver spotted in a brawl with a passenger in downtown Baltimore is no longer behind the wheel as police try to determine the back story.

And another fight broke out on a bus Wednesday afternoon at North and Gay, spilled outside into a bloody mess.

Few know the stresses better than drivers themselves.

"It's very stressful, and you never know what else was going on with this particular driver," one bus driver told WJZ-TV.

The driver, who asked the station not to show her face because she's not authorized to speak publicly, says she gets cursed at everyday, particularly by young students.

"They're just really, really, really disrespectful, they really are," she said. "It's outrageous how they act."

In fact, the number of beatings and stabbings got so bad a few years ago that the MTA launched a campaign urging riders to be civil.

"We should have zero tolerance with regard to any kind of violence on our buses. It's just simply not right," Rep. Elijah Cummings said.

And this isn't the first time an MTA driver has been in trouble.

Last year, a driver was accused of stabbing a passenger in Baltimore County and found guilty of assault.

The driver WJZ-TV talked to says the MTA does give extensive training on how to cope.

"We have de-escalation classes, we have stress reliever classes," one driver said. "We're not allowed to put our hands on anyone unless it's directly in defense of ourselves."

Whether that happened is in the hands of MTA investigators and the MTA said the driver's suspension is without pay.

The agency has not named the driver, and would not say whether she had been disciplined in the past.