A Vancouver man has been charged with assaulting a bus operator.
On April 19, 2016, at approximately 6:10 pm, a Coast Mountain Bus travelling eastbound on Broadway on the 99 BLine, stopped at the bus stop at Alma and Broadway. Several passengers boarded including a man who had reportedly been verbally harassing waiting passengers with derogatory remarks.
The man stood at the front of the bus and continued making derogatory remarks to the passengers and also the bus operator. The operator stopped the bus at Broadway and Trutch, opened the doors and asked the man to get off the bus. The man began to argue and then allegedly spat on the operator who left the bus and called police.
The man also got off the bus and allegedly punched the operator twice on the side of the head. Several passengers tried to assist the operator but the man struck out at them as well before running away. Passengers ran after him and kept him on view until Police arrived.
Vancouver Police were first on the scene and arrested the suspect pointed out to them by passengers. Transit Police arrived moments later and took over the investigation.
Arrested and charged with one count of Assault was Matthew Michael Bristo, 42 years, resident of Vancouver. Bristo, who is well known to police, appeared in court, was released on a Recognizance and is scheduled to make his next appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court on April 27, 2016. Conditions of his release include No contact with the bus operator and must leave his presence if you should board a bus he is operating, and No Weapons.
The bus operator, while upset over the incident, did not require medical attention.
Everybody’s journey, including that of bus operators, should be safe and violence free. All too often, bus operators find themselves subjected to harassing or violent behavior which puts them and their passengers at risk. We commend the passengers who stepped in to assist the operator and followed the suspect in order to point him out to police.