by Kyle Swenson
What the hell is happening out there on the RTA routes? You've got to be thinking along the same lines. In just the last few months, we've seen a spat of incidents where passengers lash out at drivers — and, of course, a driver giving it back in kind. But this week saw another violent episode on Cleveland's public transit, which makes us wonder if this troubling list might soon trigger some kind of systemic action or reform.
According to Fox8, part-time bus driver Greg Vranekovic was steering the Number 15 bus down Union Avenue on the east side yesterday afternoon. A passengers slid on through the back exit; the driver, who's only been on the job a few months, told the guy to pay.
As the passenger approached, he mimed like he was going to spit on Vranekovic. Once in close range, he started wailing on the driver's face. When Fox8 caught up with the victim coming out of the hospital later that night, his nose was still bruised up from the attack.
This latest attack comes on the heals of RTA's decision Tuesday to fire Artis Hughes, the driver who decked an attacking passenger in what's become known as the Uppercut Seen Around the World. That attack, and the consequences, influenced Vranekovic's situation.
“You gotta bring Brother Hughes back because this is becoming an epidemic on our drivers and it’s not fair to them to take this abuse while they’re out there doing their job,” said union representative William Nix, Sr.
Vranekovic, who is part-time and has only been on the job a few months, says he actually thought twice about defending himself, because of the Artis Hughes case.