ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A brawl on an ART bus Saturday left some passengers scrambling to get away and others jumping in to try to break it up.
The city is now looking into the incident to see if it was handled correctly, according to a city spokesperson.
“[There were] just punches everywhere,” said Mike Baca, who was riding the ART for the first time. “[The] two guys were the ones that were fighting and then the guy in the camouflage tried to break them up. He ended up getting beat up,” Baca explained.
Baca said he first started recording a heated argument among ART passengers over a stolen backpack.
He said it happened near the Central and Unser Transit Station.
“I think the guy in the black jacket fell asleep and the lady that was in the back grabbed his bag,” Baca said.
The cell phone video shows the fight lasting a couple of minutes, and Baca said he was surprised the driver didn’t pull over sooner.
“He waited til we got to the next stop where Century 14 [theater] is,” he said.
KRQE News 13 showed the video to other riders who had the same concern.
“It could’ve been handled a lot differently,” Todd Frank of Albuquerque stated.
“The bus driver, I think, could’ve at least tried to stop the fight,” Vito Madrid of Albuquerque added.
But, there’s a reason why we never see the driver.
A city spokesperson said ART drivers are supposed to inform transit security in these types of situations.
In a written statement, Transit Director Danny Holcomb said the following: “The safety of our drivers and passengers is our top priority. With ART up and running we have increased security presence both on the buses and in the corridor. This incident is being reviewed to ensure all proper protocols and procedures were followed.”
Baca said Saturday’s incident serves as a reminder to be mindful of your surroundings, but he doesn’t plan on making another trip.
“I’ll never ride the bus again,” he decided. “It was just something we wanted to see and try out.”
There are 14 dedicated security staff for the ART platforms and buses. The city has said 17 buses can run the entire ART corridor, meaning it’s not possible for there to be a security officer on every bus at all times.
It’s unclear if there was an ART security officer on this bus.