CINCINNATI -- Police arrested a man who is accused of assaulting a Metro driver aboard a bus, and a dramatic video of the incident has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.
Marcellus Thomas, 49, punched and shoved a 67-year-old bus driver at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to a police report. The driver told police that Thomas attacked him after a dispute over the fare.
The video shows the driver push Thomas out of the bus, but Thomas gets back inside before he could close the door. They wrestle while at least five passengers try to help the driver.
The incident occurred on a Route 20 bus near the intersection of Central and Linn, according to Metro spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers. She said the victim's injuries were not serious, but he was "sore" and off work until Monday.
Thomas is charged with assault. He's being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center with bond set at $10,000.
Hilvers said these kind of incidents are rare. Metro averages around 14 million rides every year, and they have only referred four instances of alleged assaults to police in the last three years.
Troy Miller, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 627 which represents Metro bus drivers, said Metro isn't taking driver safety seriously enough. He said there have been other serious attacks during the last year that injured drivers and prompted criminal charges. Also, drivers are pushed, kicked and spit on but the incidents are not reported to police, according to Miller.
"The number of assaults, not just here in Cincinnati but across the United States, are on the rise," he said.
Miller said bus drivers need more protection on the job, such as clear plastic shields that make it harder to attack them. It's unclear how effective that would be or how much it would cost.
Pending legislation, Ohio House Bill 496, would make it a felony to assault a bus driver. Thomas was only charged with a misdemeanor.