Bus driver speaks after attack, calls for safety improvements

YONKERS, N.Y. — Liberty Lines bus driver Burim Sylaj said he recognizes the four teens who attacked him last weekend as they left his bus.

The father of two young children said on Wednesday that the teens ride a few times a week and he always reminds them to pay $2.75.

They never do, he said.

“They verbally abuse me before, but Saturday when this happened, they threatened to kill me,” Sylaj said.

Then on their way out of the bus, at the corner of Conner Street and Boston Road in the Eastchester section of the Bronx, “they start throwing at me a Snapple, Sprite, a phone charger," the driver said.

The Snapple bottle left a mark above Sylaj’s right eye — and then it escalated.

“They spit at me and one of them kicked me [in the chest], so I decide to step from the seat and kick him back and not let him on the bus,” Sylaj said. “I try to defend myself.”

Sylaj’s Transport Workers Union is calling on Westchester County, which is in a public-private partnership with Liberty Lines, to put safety partitions in all their buses. It would surround drivers with a safety net of hardened plastic.

The MTA did this in New York City within the last few years.

A spokeswoman for the Westchester County Executive said:

“The safety of the bus drives and the riders is our top priority. We want to make sure all drives are protected appropriately. We intend to have our fleet compliant and we intend to invite the union to view the new fleet when the busses arrive.”

The spokeswoman clarified that any new buses would have the safety partitions. However, she did not say if all buses in the 300-plus bus fleet would be replaced, possible leaving unpartitioned old busses on the road.

Police say a bus driver was assaulted by 4 men as they exited a bus in the Bronx.