De Lijn bus driver injured following attack by passenger

De Lijn bus driver injured following attack by passenger
Credit: Belga.

A bus driver working for Flemish public transport company De Lijn was seriously injured on Thursday afternoon after an 18-year-old person struck him in the face.

On Thursday afternoon at 13:30, a bus driver on the De Lijn bus line 128, which runs from the Flemish municipality of Ninove to Brussels when the bus was in Dilbeek. According to Belga News Agency, the assailant became enraged when the bus failed to pull over at his stop.

The driver was able to stop the bus following the attack, but he was covered in blood and had to be brought to the hospital by ambulance. He is now incapacitated for at least four days.

The 18-year-old, who fled following the attack, has been identified on footage from the bus's CCTV cameras, which captured the incident. According to Het Nieuwsblad, bus drivers on the service between Brussels and Ninove regularly face aggression from passengers.

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In protest against this, several other bus drivers went on strike in the hours following the incident, asking that further safety precautions be implemented. Stefaan Laroy, a union leader at ACOD, said extra checks, more cooperation with the police and a shielded "driver's cabin" were needed.

De Lijn has now said it is working internally on implementing new safety measures, including additional checks on the line between Ninove and Brussels until the end of October.

Laroy told Belga News Agency that drivers are "happy that the management picked up the signal, but are tired of being used as punching bags."

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