City bus drivers are not nannies

An interesting story out of the West Island: After an elementary student spat on a bus driver and others refused to pay their fares, the driver took the bus to the police station to complain, leading to the arrests of three children on assault charges.

It all started at (the former) Allancroft Elementary, when a student spat on the driver and others in a group of 20 rowdy students refused to pay their fare getting on the 217 bus, which goes from the school to the Beaconsfield train station and then Fairview Pointe-Claire.

It’s a little-known secret that paying fares is entirely optional on city buses. Drivers are trained never to leave their seats or start confrontations with passengers. Instead, if someone refuses to pay their fare and goes to the back of the bus, the drivers tend to do nothing and continue on the route rather than start an incident.

Probably because of the spitting, this driver decided to do something about it. He pulled the bus into Station 1 on St. Charles Blvd. and complained. Rather than profess their innocence and blame it all on the driver, one of the kids kicked a police officer in the back. For their troubles three of them got charged (including the one who spat on the driver) and issued fines for everyone who didn’t pay their fare.

Considering there hasn’t been mass protests in the streets against the bus driver, the police, the school and everyone else parents could possibly blame besides their children, I’m guessing they had some long talks with their little troublemakers.

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