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Latest Attack On MTA Bus Driver Runs Total To 59 This Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver was beaten and bruised on the job and is now terrified to return to work.

The woman was attacked by an irate passenger demanding to get off the bus at an undesignated stop. As CBS 2's Lou Young reports, it wasn't the first time a driver has been attacked, and now they're banding together to say enough is enough.

"I had this guy, just standing behind... quiet... not doing anything, just standing there, quiet, not giving any sign of anger, anything," bus driver Maria Hogan said.

Hogan broke down Wednesday recounting her first impression of the man who assaulted her over the weekend while she worked, a man who complained when she passed a bus stop closed for construction and then followed-up with a sudden explosion of violence.

"Then I reached for the key for the switch for the ... wheelchair. Then I reached for my face. Then I push him, and then he was trying to grab me again and I push him with my leg and I push him with my leg and I was trying to push him with my other leg," Hogan said.

Keep in mind this incident happened is broad daylight Saturday morning across from Fordham University and Montefiore Hospital on Fordham Road, all of 300 yards from the passed stop. The driver said her assailant waited while she helped a wheelchair passenger off the bus before beginning his assault.

"He was trying to curse at me... I don't remember the words. Then he punched me... and got off the bus and then I got off the bus and tried to see where he was going," Hogan said.

Hogan is the third BX-9 bus driver assaulted in the past three months and the 59th driver to be assaulted system-wide this year. He co-workers said they've noticed a change.

"It's not just this line. It's all around the system," one driver said.

"It's getting … getting a lot rough out, very rough," said driver Rodney Campbell, who added when asked why he thinks this is happening, "the economy, lifestyle."

Whatever the reason, a spokesman for the MTA told Young on Wednesday it's unacceptable.

"I need to be safe in my job, and I feel like we're so exposed to anything," Hogan said.

The drivers' union is clamoring for measures like safety partitions and additional security patrols.

The MTA said it has a pilot program underway to install security cameras in 400 buses, but so far only in Manhattan.

Driver partitions are currently being tested on some MTA buses. So far, they're only in use on some Brooklyn lines.

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