It’s in the Bronx. Read on for details.
By Joyce Li
Last month, NY1 called the BX 9 bus route between Riverdale and West Farms the most dangerous in the city. Over the past year, the Bx9 bus has accumulated several reports of bus driver assaults and violence.
Diona Phoenix, a senior at City College and former commuter on the BX 9, states, “There’s always some type of argument or commotion going on. It’s just too rowdy on that bus.”
It’s actually moved beyond being just rowdy. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports a 13 percent increase in assaults over the past year. Fifty-nine other BX 9 bus drivers were assaulted from January to August, seven more than in the same time period last year.
According to the New York Daily News, in a January confrontation, bus driver Marlene Bien-Aime was beaten by a 17-year old girl after she was told her dog couldn’t ride along unless in a crate. Bien-Aime’s eye was so badly bruised that her doctor warned she could lose her sight in it.
Just recently, another female bus driver was assaulted on the same bus route. Maria Hogan was attacked after she skipped a passenger’s stop. The stop was closed because of construction–which Hogan announced several times. Nonetheless, the angry 6-foot passenger punched her in the face and tried to pull her off the driver’s seat by the leg.
Even though the MTA hasn’t labeled which route is the most dangerous, the bus drivers’ union tells NY1 News, “The BX 9 is one of the worst and management isn’t doing enough to protect the drivers.”
Bronx native Tiffany Hughes, 28, commutes daily on the BX 9. She hasn’t seen violence against drivers, but she’s witnessed plenty of trouble. “It passes by some really bad housing, and I’ve seen plenty of arguments and actual fights between teenagers and older people,” she says. “There were certain bus stops I could not wait at because it was dangerous.”
An MTA spokesperson told NY1, “They are working closely with TWU to develop barriers to protect the drivers.” MTA officials also insist that they have delivered surveillance cameras on about a third of the buses from the terminal where Hogan works.
But even with added surveillance cameras, drama speaks louder than words. “My experience on this bus has been extremely unreliable,” says Maria Hogan. “This bus is horrible.”