19 Action News has learned that the RTA bus driver who punched a passenger back in October has been fired.
The incident came to light when cell phone video of the incident surfaced shortly after it happened last month. The video went viral.
The driver, Artis Hughes is facing charges stemming from the incident as well as the passenger Shidea Lane. Both will appear in Shaker Muni Court later this month.
STATEMENT FROM RTA:
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has terminated Artis Hughes from his operator position today. RTA values its employees and expects employees to follow rules, regulations and policies. Each employee is advised of the rules as part of their employment.
There are certain actions by our employees that are so serious that the employee is subject to immediate discharge.
One of those actions is a use of force against a member of the public.
In the Artis Hughes situation, the customer was out of line and charges have been filed against her. However, while customers may be challenging or difficult to handle, RTA employees are instructed to exercise restraint and to conduct themselves professionally at all times.**
Mr. Hughes claims that his actions were in self-defense. The evidence does not support that claim.
We expect our employees to diffuse any potential situation. We do not believe that Mr. Hughes took the proper steps to diffuse this situation. The proper procedure would have been to pull over and stop the bus, then call Transit Police for assistance.
Employees should take precautions in situations such as this one to protect the safety of other RTA customers and the public. Mr. Hughes did not take the proper precautions, nor did he follow procedure.
For the above reasons, Mr. Hughes has been terminated from RTA.
RTA, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Fraternal Order of Police have established a joint Labor/Management Committee to discuss and implement strategies to enhance the safety of all employees.
**RTA Employee Handbook Dischargeable Offense #5:
"Use of overt force, such as shoving, pushing, striking of any blows in any manner or fashion against another employee, supervisor, management personnel or such actions against members of the public while in the course and scope of employment or at any time while on company property. The only exception shall be where it is clearly established that the employee acted in self-defense."
RTA provides quality, economic and safe public transportation via rail, bus and Paratransit throughout Cuyahoga County. Check www.riderta.com for timetables, schedules and route information or call the RTAnswerline at 216.621.9500.