Police are looking for two suspects who allegedly beat up a bus operator last week in Manhattan—part of a string of recent attacks on transit workers.
Before the August 31st attack about 10:50 p.m., the MTA bus operator told a man and woman to get off an M2 bus for threatening another passenger at East Eighth and Lafayette streets, according to a statement from the NYPD.
The bus operator parked nearby at 51 Astor Place to take a break, where the two suspects walked up to the bus and held the door open, the police department said.
The woman punched the bus driver in the face after the man told her to "beat him up," and then they ran off, police said.
The 35-year-old bus driver was treated at a nearby hospital for minor face, back, and neck injuries, according to police and the MTA.
In a video released by the NYPD early Sunday, the two suspects were seen walking in the area on surveillance video. The woman was recorded lugging a large suitcase and backpack while following the man, seen in a white T-shirt and jeans with a black cap. Police were still searching for the duo as of Sunday afternoon, an NYPD spokesperson said.
The operator was among three transit workers attacked over a 24-hour period last week, according to the MTA.
About 8 a.m. September 1st, a train conductor was shoved onto the tracks at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street station in Brooklyn, suffering neck, back, and head injuries, the transit authority said.
The suspect, 55-year-old Kevin Harrison, who police say did not have a home, was arrested two days later for second degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Shortly after that attack, a man at Jamaica Avenue and 132nd Street in Queens punched a bus driver's side window, shattering it, and verbally assaulted the bus operator sitting in the seat. No one was injured, and bus riders were safely discharged from the bus.
An NYPD spokesperson said Sunday afternoon no arrests have been made in the Queens incident.
"Attacking a public servant who is working hard to keep New York moving during this time of uncertainty is heartbreaking, outrageous, and frankly, unfathomable," NYC Transit Interm President Sarah Feinberg said in a statement last week. "We have sounded the alarm on this disturbing trend to the NYPD a number of times. More needs to be done."
Between mid-April and early July, 402 attacks on transit workers occurred, according to a report in THE CITY. There were about 105 more encounters during the same time period in 2019, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic led to mass ridership drops. Dozens of incidents are related to the coronavirus—like one in which a bus operator was struck in the head after telling a bus rider in Brooklyn to wear a face covering, the news website reported.