ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New video shows a passenger on a bus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, refusing to move for an elderly man in a wheelchair shortly before appearing to physically assault another rider.
A witness said an elderly man in a wheelchair needed a woman to move temporarily on Monday so he could maneuver his wheelchair into a spot. “He asked the woman on the other side if she could move for a second so he could turn around his wheelchair and she refused to do so,” said John Benavidez, a witness on the bus.
“Leave me alone. My space. It’s my space,” the female passenger said, refusing to move. “I know my rights. Everybody’s watching you. Leave me alone. Leave me alone,” she said.
“The bus driver finally got out of the seat and again, speaking really reasonably to her, asked her to move and she wouldn’t do it. And things escalated,” said Benavidez.
“All you got to do is get up for 30 seconds,” the driver can be heard saying.
The elderly man could be heard pleading with the woman: “Young lady, I’m a combat veteran of three wars. Three wars! I’m going to be 97 next month and you are trying to hinder me.”
The driver eventually tells her to get off the bus. “Alright, ma’am. I need you to hop off the bus now since you’re refusing to comply. Alright, I guess we’ll get security,” said the driver.
“I was just shocked at the lack of consideration for this gentleman,” said Benavidez.
The woman eventually gets up but throws punches at another passenger before getting off the bus. Benavidez said he’s noticed more bad behavior on buses recently. “It’s been a problem for the past few months. People refusing to wear masks, not obeying commands of the driver, twice in the last month I’ve witnessed two people doing drugs on the bus,” he said.
He’s calling on city leadership to bump up security. “I agree with the free fare program and fares but at the same time they had to anticipate that there was going to be some people getting on the bus as a result of that program that shouldn’t be there,” said Benavidez.
No word yet on if the woman is facing any charges.
“ABQ RIDE continues to monitor and gather data of incidents onboard our buses to assist in generating policy that will keep our passengers and drivers safe. Safety is a top priority for ABQ RIDE in ensuring passengers, drivers and motorists get where they need to be without issue. We sincerely ask that passengers be respectful of one another and our drivers,” said Lorena Sanchez, spokesperson for Albuquerque Transit.