Two More X2 Metrobus Drivers Victimized as Assault Numbers Climb

Two X2 line Metrobus drivers were assaulted over the past two days, only weeks after union officials said the line was too dangerous and briefly halted service to protect driver safety.

In the past 36 hours, a knife-wielding man threatened to kill one driver and a passenger threw a can of fuel at another driver. Both drivers were on the X2 line.

These are just two of the latest attacks in a troubling trend: more bus drivers are being targeted by passengers.

Assaults on bus operators rose about 20 percent for the first six months of 2017 when compared to the same time frame in 2016, a recent Metro report showed.

Drivers on the X2 line have faced guns, knives, death threats and even urine attacks.

About noon Tuesday, police were called to the intersection of 8th Street and H Street NW after receiving reports of someone with a knife. When they arrived, an X2 Metro driver told them he had been threatened.

The driver had confronted a passenger about paying the fare, Metro officials said.

The passenger then told the driver, "When I see you again, I’m going to kill you," according to court documents.

Police arrested the passenger, Davon Abney, 20, of Northeast D.C., for assault with a dangerous weapon, possessing a prohibited weapon and threatening to do bodily harm.

On Wednesday, three juveniles tried to board an X2 bus near 14th Street and H Street Northeast with a gas-powered leaf blower, Metro officials said.

"You can’t bring a leaf blower on this bus," the driver said he told them.

One of the juveniles pulled the bus driver’s shield, officials said.

At least one of the juveniles left the bus -- then turned back to throw an empty sterno fuel can at the driver, officials said.

The can bounced off the driver’s shield, officials said. It landed near the door of the bus.

All three juveniles ran away, officials said.

The can was not lit, nor was it capable of being lit. There were no injuries, according to Metro officials.

The bus was pulled over, and police began an investigation. They continue to search for the juveniles.

"The X2 has been pointed out as one of the most dangerous routes in the city," Derrick Mallard, spokesman of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 said. "We need police presence on the bus."

At least two other X2 drivers faced aggressive passengers in the past ten weeks.

In August, Opal Brown urinated into a cup and threw it on a driver. She was later arrested

Service on the X2 line was disrupted for hours Sept. 1 after union officials expressed safety concerns. Drivers said Metro refused to protect them on the dangerous line -- and Metro said the drivers refused to drive.

"I'm not going to wait until one of my drivers is killed to say, 'You need to do something,'" union President Jackie Jeter said. "It's time to do something different."

But Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik said that's not realistic.

But about two weeks later, another X2 driver and passengers were threatened by a man with two guns

Assaults and confrontations are not isolated to the X2 line.

A man was arrested on kidnapping charges in Sept. 10 after a driver told him to pay his fare.

Police said the bus was headed up 6th Street in the Chinatown area, when Tarik Samuel Abraham got on the bus through the back door without paying the fare.

According to the police report, when the driver told him he had to pay, he yelled, "I’m not paying. I'm from Langley Park. You all not going to do (expletive.)"

The report said when the driver pulled over to ask a supervisor to call police, Abraham placed his back against the plastic driver shield and said, "You're not going anywhere." The driver was eventually released.

That incident prompted union officials to say drastic measures are needed to curb bad passenger behavior.

Metro officials told News4 they would consider banning passengers for bad behavoir. 

The News4 I-Team documented many such cases that occurred earlier -- but data shows the prevalence of assaults has grown since that 2014 report.

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