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MBTA driver suspended after knocking down unruly passenger

Transit Police are investigating the incident.
Passenger Ben Mohr handed over cell phone video showing the altercation.Screenshot/Ben Mohr

For the second time in less than a month, an MBTA operator got into a physical fight with an unruly passenger. This time, the driver was suspended after striking the man with a chock block.

Transit police are investigating a fight that allegedly took place Saturday afternoon on a Route 1 bus as it traveled on Massachusetts Avenue near Washington Street. According to T officials, an argument broke out between a female driver and a male passenger.

Video captured by a passenger and provided to a local Boston television station, the man is seen spitting on the driver as he exited the bus. That’s when the driver appears to stop the bus and follow him outside onto the sidewalk. As the argument escalates, the driver is seen swinging an object at the man, knocking him down to the ground.

It was unclear whether either party will face charges. Neither people were identified, though MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the 40-year-old driver has worked for the MBTA for nearly a decade.

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The man left the scene without requesting medical attention, Pesaturo said. It was unclear what prompted the man to spit on the driver. Police were not called to the scene.

Earlier this month, a female MBTA trolley driver punched a pregnant woman who spat on her during a fare dispute. The driver involved in that incident did not face disciplinary action, though transit police spoke out on her behalf saying that passenger assaults on operators is a serious problem in the transit agency.

When asked why the driver in Saturday’s incident was suspended and the trolley was not, Pesaturo said they were “different cases. Different set of circumstances.”

The bus drivers’ union did not immediately return a request for comment.

 
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