KCATA bus driver punched in face by passenger; second attack in a month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority asking the public for help finding a man who punched a bus driver in the face. This is the second attack on a KCATA driver in one month.

The most recent incident happened on Oct. 26 near 39th and Main streets. The passenger was angry because the driver would not give him another passenger's unneeded transfer, according to Kansas City Police. The suspect got off the bus, then got back on and hit the driver in the face.  

KCATA spokesperson Cindy Baker said the surveillance video should lead to a speedy arrest.

"The video and stills are clear enough that people will recognize these individuals," Baker said.

WATCH | Bus Assault at 39th and Main - http://youtu.be/fe747pKUix0

On Oct. 1, another KCATA bus driver was sucker-punched and knocked unconscious. Baker said it's hard to prevent these random attacks, but added it's important to keep them in perspective.

RELATED | Driver knocked unconscious by passenger: http://tinyurl.com/ccfthea

"It's really difficult to stop this, because society seems be getting a little, a lot more uncivil," she said. "But we do try to keep it in perspective. With 16 million people boarding each year, I think these are the only two incidents of something like this in the last 12 months."

The driver most recently assaulted was not seriously injured. He called police and continued his route.

KSHB rode along with a veteran driver Friday night to get a better sense of what KCATA employees face daily. 

Robin Bereeck has bussed passengers from stop to stop in Kansas City for the last 23 years. The recent assaults don't phase her because she believes most passengers would rather arrive at their final destinations than pick a fight.

"We've had two recently, but the whole time I've been here -- 23 years -- (there have been) probably eight.  That's not very many in 23 years," Bereeck explained.

There was one time in the beginning of her career that she had to call for help.

"He got on acting crazy with a two-by-four and I used my silent alarm. Within minutes, the police were there," she said.

As technology has advanced, so has her sense of security.

"The cameras make me feel safe. We have silent alarms if anything was to happen, I've had to use mine once and the response was quick," Bereeck explained.

Police are still looking for the man responsible for the latest attack on one of Bereeck's colleagues.  Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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