BOSTON (CBS) – A MBTA bus driver was taken out of service Tuesday night after a picture surfaced of him allegedly sleeping behind the wheel. The photo, taken November 9th, shows the man, a 12-year veteran, slumped over in the driver’s seat of a bus parked at Waverly Square in Belmont. T spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told WBZ there are appropriate places to take a break, the operator’s seat is not one of them.
A passenger, who wanted to remain anonymous, sent the picture out on Twitter Tuesday and tagged the MBTA general manager and Transit Police. He said public (civil) employees, in his words, get paid well enough to be alert on the job. His friend, a cab driver, actually took the photo. He said passengers, late at night, waited outside for the driver to wake up.
“It is always a big concern. It kills a lot of people every year,” passenger Ben Sewell said of drowsy driving. He rides the Route 73 bus daily and agreed with the MBTA’s response. “It is all you can really do at first is to pull him out of service and investigate it,” he said.
“I don’t feel anything bad about it. He was not driving,” said fellow passenger Anita Frank. She gave the driver a pass and suggested checking with former passengers to see if this was an isolated incident or something more. “I think if it is a one-time thing they should leave him alone,” she said. “If he has been doing this over and over then maybe he should review his hours. Maybe he has been working too much,” she added.
Caitlin Luqet said there is no excuse, parked or not, for a bus driver sleeping behind the wheel. “That’s crazy. I can’t believe it,” she said. “I wouldn’t get on it. I would get on the next one. Even if he woke up and opened the door there is no way I would get on the bus.”
The T is still investigating. Pesaturo said disciplinary action is expected.