BC Transit is applauding a court decision that has resulted in a man being sentenced for assaulting a bus driver in Abbotsford last fall.
Mario Cloutier was sentenced last Wednesday in Abbotsford provincial court to three months in jail. He was also barred from riding any public bus in B.C. – including TransLink services – for the next three years.
Cloutier was already under a ban on bus riding at the time of the attack and received an additional month in jail for breaching that order.
The incident occurred on Oct. 2, 2015 at approximately 3:45 p.m. The operator had noticed a man lying on the floor of the bus and carrying open liquor.
The driver told him to leave the bus, but as he was doing so, Cloutier turned and punched the operator in the head three times.
One passenger stepped in to assist, but Cloutier broke free and left the bus. A transit supervisor came to the scene, checked on the driver and then followed Cloutier until local police arrived and arrested him.
BC Transit spokesman John Barry said the judge’s ruling is welcome, both for the punishment/deterrent effect and for the message it represents.
“One of BC Transit’s core values is safety, and transit operators are responsible for the safety and well-being of those both inside the bus and outside. Any assault risks serious injury not just to the operator but to those in and around the vehicle,” he said.
Barry said BC Transit is grateful to the passengers who assisted during the incident, including their roles as witnesses to help the police charge and convict Cloutier.