TriMet operator on bus violence: "Police officers that ride our - KPTV - FOX 12

TriMet operator on bus violence: "Police officers that ride our bus say they wouldn’t do our job."

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Song Landis, jail booking photo Song Landis, jail booking photo
TUALATIN, OR (KPTV) -

Police say a man sleeping in a bus shelter attacked a TriMet bus operator after being asked to leave. 

It happened early Tuesday morning near the intersection of Southwest 65th Avenue and SW Borland Road in Tualatin.

Tualatin Police said a Line 76 driver returned back from break at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital and found a man sleeping at a bus shelter. 

The driver asked him to leave, but police said the man, later identified as Song Landis, said no.  Instead, he asked to ride the bus for free and when the driver refused, police say, Landis punched him in the eye and knocked him to the ground.  

Police found Landis a couple blocks away and took him into custody, fortunately the operator is expected to be alright.

Former Amalgamated Transit Union President Bruce Hansen said this is just more proof the job is becoming too dangerous.

“We currently have an open door policy and it’s ridiculous,” said Hansen. “Our doors remain open at all times on our break and this happened while the operator was on break. The passenger should have never been on the bus.”

Hansen, who is currently a bus operator with TriMet, said this is just one of many horror stories he’s heard from fellow drivers in recent months. Hansen claims many operators are afraid to speak out about it all for fear of losing their jobs.  

Back in April of this year, police said two TriMet operators were involved in violent incidents with passengers.  

“I think 25 to 30 have been reported, but how many go unreported because we know nothing is going to happen,” said Hansen.  “What’s sad is that we have police officers that ride our bus to go to work every day that say they wouldn’t do our job.”

While TriMet told FOX 12 they do not have any statistics complied yet from this year, they confirm last year some 17 bus operators were assaulted, or harassed.  

Since then, TriMet says they’re providing counseling to drivers and forming an improvement team made of operators and police to figure out how best to protect employees. 

But, Hansen said he has yet to hear anything about that team.  He hopes something is done soon, before things get any worse.

“TriMet needs to step up and get something rolling, instead of just telling people what they want to hear,” said Hansen.

A TriMet representative told FOX 12 the process of forming that improvement team has begun, adding that they take the issue of any operator assault seriously.

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