US Earmarks Expensive Bus

A Washington, D.C., Metrobus drops off passengers in Arlington, Virginia. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On May 2, a Metrobus driver was allegedly stabbed with a pair of pliers by a male as the vehicle was coming to the intersection of Minnesota Avenue and Nannie Helen Burroughs., N.E. The driver managed to get out of the bus and passengers exited the vehicle through the back door, according to published reports.

It has been reported that the suspect then drove the Metrobus to a Crown gas station that is located at the intersection and struck a pedestrian. It was later revealed that the pedestrian was killed.

Police identified 40-year-old Anthony Payne of Northwest, as the victim. On May 3 Keith Loving, of Northeast, was arrested and charged with Murder Two, according to a statement from the police.

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier made a comment that was picked up by numerous media outlets labeling the situation as “a bizarre incident.”

Earlier reports of the incident reported that juveniles attacked the Metrobus driver but that version of the story was corrected by Lanier during a press conference.

Antawan Holmes, chairman of advisory neighborhood commission 7C in Ward 7, the area where the incident took place, said he learned about the incident not from the media but from District government officials.

“I received an email from the mayor’s office in the form of an alert while I was at work,” Holmes told the {AFRO}. “I don’t have a clear picture of what went on there.”

Holmes said that the incident raises larger concerns. Two teens have been killed at the Deanwood Metro Station within the past two months and Holmes can’t help but to think that this incident increases concerns about safety in the far Northeast section of Washington.

“Let me say that the Metrobus incident doesn’t reflect what goes on in Deanwood,” he said. “It seems a lot of incidents happen around the edges of the city and I wonder if we are getting publicity for things that are happening here that may also take place in Georgetown or Anacostia.”

The Federal Transit Administration released a report on June 17, 2015, stating that Metrobus drivers were assaulted by passengers 175 times. The assaults ranged from arguments with drivers over refusing to pay fare to criminal activity.

As a result of the report, some Metrobuses have cameras and shields installed to protect the drivers.

David Smith, president of the Deanwood Citizens Association, agreed with Holmes that the Metrobus incident isn’t a reflection of Deanwood but argued that it is a result of unfair public policy.

“These types of incidents take place when poor people are being pushed to the vulnerable sections of the city,” Smith told the {AFRO}. He said he didn’t know the specifics of the case, but he understands that some District residents will have a wary eye on Deanwood and that’s not fair.

“The two teens that were killed  weren’t from Deanwood,” he said. “One was from Maryland and the other lives in Kenilworth and yet Deanwood is blamed.”

Smith said that Metrobus-like incidents won’t take place if District leaders would invest in the section economically and work to improve the schools and help young people get along in life.