A Warwick man who boarded a public bus in February, then proceeded to verbally threaten and assault the female driver by threatening to shoot her with a gun, was slapped with a $750 fine in Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Micheal James of South Shore, Warwick, admitted the offence committed on February 13, 2018 against bus operator Shirlet Simons. He was also told that he would serve 30 days imprisonment in default.
The court heard that he told Ms Simons, who has been driving the bus since 1993, that if he had is gun he would shoot her with it, all because he didn’t have enough money to pay the full fare.
Ms Simons, who noted that she has never had any “incidents like this” in all her days on the job, told Bermuda Real that she thought the Magistrate was lenient.
“He begged the courts (defendant) leniency as he is the only family member working, and that and that he has a daughter to support. He also said that he just got a new job, which he has only had for three months,” said Ms Simons.
“But because he threatened to use a gun, I felt that was very serious and warranted the maximum fine of $2,800, to send a message that this will not be tolerated, as we are there to serve the public and want to feel that we will be safe in doing our job.
“Also, he could have had a six month prison sentence, which is also on the books with the $2,800 fine.”
Asked how her fellow colleagues are coping with situations like this on top of dealing with ongoing breakdowns, she said: “Yes men and women worry about safety with passengers having no regard for us doing our job.”
Both Ms Simons and a host of other bus operators told Bermuda Real yesterday that bus operators are fed up, and they’re now poised to implement a work to rule because they want answers on what the Government plans to do with the ageing bus fleet.
One driver said: “We know the story and the bottom line on the fact that there’s no money.”
But he said: “With up to 60 buses out of service on any given day, we know the story on the budgetary restraints. But that also means that this Government is doing nothing to address what we have to deal with every day!”
At last check, no official notice of a work to rule had been served, but we were told that management was aware of it.
If implemented, the work to rule will be for two weeks, pending the results of the acknowledgment of a long list of outstanding issues the Department of Public Transportation, bus operators and allied workers.