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ABQ bus driver: City misled public about onboard violence, security

Caleb James
February 17, 2017 07:03 AM

On the same day that Albuquerque police released shocking security camera footage of a vicious stabbing on board a city bus, another transit employee is speaking out about the dangers of working on board. 

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The employee also said the transit department's recent promise of additional security guards is misleading because the guards were already part of the department's Albuquerque's Rapid Transit expansion.  

This is the second ABQ Ride employee to speak to KOB on the record on condition of anonymity. The driver's stories are confirmed by multiple additional employee sources inside the department -- expressing concern to KOB because, they say, management is not receptive.  

"There was a knife pulled on a driver yesterday," the driver said on Thursday. "It's a very unsafe job."  

Each day, riders on every ABQ Ride route make it home safe and sound. Not Jan. 21. Surreal onboard security video shows what looks like a man repeatedly punching another passenger. Police say it's actually viciously stabbing that man. Police say the man with the knife is 62-year-old Gregory Dozier, and his victim was stabbed 25 times. 

When KOB first reported the attack, transit director Bruce Rizzieri said he was "surprised" someone had been stabbed on board a bus. That's when angry employees started crying foul, including one telling KOB that violent incidents are reported by drivers on an almost daily basis

"He knows about it all," that employee told KOB on Jan. 25. 

On Thursday, with the release of that horrifying video, a second driver spoke out on condition of anonymity. 

"I got punched in the face," the driver said. 

That driver said they were attacked for asking a man with an open liquor bottle and knife to leave the bus. 

"I was showing him where the rules say there's no liquor or knives on the bus, and he ended up punching me in the face and broke my ring finger," the driver said. 

But ABQ Ride spokesman Rick De Reyes said he's suspicious of the reports of violence. 

"I think sometimes when an employee comes to you and says that, it doesn't necessarily mean it's rooted in truth," De Reyes said. 

De Reyes said employees haven't expressed concerns but should feel like they can speak up.

"I haven't seen that," he said. "I haven't seen where they've come to us."

But on the front lines, there was another stabbing Tuesday at a bus stop in Uptown. 

"There was another stabbing of two passengers," the driver who spoke to KOB on Thursday said. "A passenger was getting off the bus and another person stabbed him."

Rizzieri said 10 new security guards are being hired, but employees say they were told about the new guards almost a year ago -- that they're for the new ART rapid transit line.

 "Their job would be to patrol the ART buses and check to see if people have bought their ticket," the driver said.

KOB asked De Reyes about the claims. 

"They're being hired as a result of the increase in the budget for the art line," said De Reyes. "It was always a plan, to expand the system you need to expand everything, from drivers to buses, to security guards."

De Reyes said even though the guards are being hired as a result of ART expansion, they may be used to help out on other lines. 

Credits

Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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