Arrest made after bus driver and passenger attack

METRO VANCOUVER – Police have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a pair of recent attacks on Metro Vancouver bus drivers, passengers.

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, RCMP officers from Langley and Surrey arrested a 19-year-old man identified as a suspect after he was caught on TransLink video surveillance.

The man is a resident of Surrey and is known to police, said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Holly Marks, in a release. He was arrested at his home without incident.

The officer said it was a cooperative effort by RCMP and Transit police.

The union representing Metro Vancouver bus drivers warned the public about the possibility of a serial attacker, suspected of choking a Surrey bus driver on Saturday and stabbing a passenger in Aldergrove on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old passenger was stabbed as he left the bus near Aldergrove Centre Mall at around 4:45 p.m., and was airlifted to hospital.

Police said it didn’t appear that the attacker and the victim knew each other.

the union offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for choking a bus driver , after being asked to step back from the front of the bus while riding in Surrey.

In both cases the emotionless attacker said nothing.

The suspect remains in custody and was be taken to court on Thursday, Marks said.

It was the third driver assault in Surrey so far this year.

In the two previous incidents, drivers were spat upon. In one of them, the female assailant first threatened to stab the driver with a dirty needle she claimed to have.

None of the Surrey incidents to date were triggered by drivers challenging passengers over fare evasion, he said, calling them “random acts of violence” that seem more linked to mental health or addiction.

Bus drivers were assaulted 146 times last year in Metro Vancouver, a 21 per cent increase from 2010.

A total of eight driver assaults have been recorded in the region so far this year.