A Gros Islet bus driver, who is accused of assaulting a Guyanese national last week Thursday over a fare difference of 25 cents, plans to take legal action and claimed that it was the woman who was the aggressor.
A source close to the bus driver, speaking on condition of anonymity, said her relative is disturbed by the version of events relayed by passenger Audrey Fredericks, calling them “outright lies”.
Fredericks, who lives in Bois D’Orange, Gros Islet, had told St. Lucia News Online that she was assaulted and bitten by the bus driver in a fall-out over bus fare.
Fredericks had reported that she and her 12-year-old son boarded the bus around 1:30 p.m. but the chain of events started when the bus stopped in Marisule, Gros Islet to let off a passenger. During that time Fredericks said she paid the bus driver $3.25 but the driver was not happy. He insisted that Fredericks paid the full fare or get off his bus
However, the source close to the bus driver claimed the woman was the aggressor from the beginning.
“The lady refused to pay the full fare, that’s a fact. The driver did his job, full fare up front,” the relative said.
The source said the mother initially refused to pay the full fare for her teenage son even though the bus driver provided written evidence.
“The little boy was not in school uniform so the full fare should be paid but the lady was hot-headed calling the man a thief. He never thief nothing for her. She owed him. Outright lies from that woman,” the source claimed.
Stating that “attitude determines altitude”, the source said had the woman responded more kindly, things would have turned out different.
The driver said he was going to accept the fare after the son offered to pay the difference of .25 cents, the source said, but all broke loose.
“The $3.25 was placed beside the woman in the seat after he (the driver) got off the bus. The son was giving the 25 cents… the woman just grab the coins like a pig as the driver was about to take up the money,” the source said. “Had she just let the man take back the money from the seat, we would not have reached here. But she well hot.”
That’s when the altercation kicked off. The source denied that the driver willfully assaulted the passenger. She said the driver bit the woman in self-defense.
“When he got back in the bus with plans to go to the police station, the woman grab the man shirt, burst the man chain and tear his shirt. The driver bit the woman because she was attacking him. Why would the man bite the woman hand for 25 cents? Wickedness. Lies.”
The source said the driver took the woman’s cell-phone because she burst his chain and held on to money that was rightfully his.
The source added that her relative is seeking compensation for his chain, injuries and damage to his reputation.
Below is a letter written to Godfrey Ferdinand, president of the National Council of Public Transportation, by Fredericks. (Parts of the letter – including the driver’s name and bus number – have been edited for legal reasons)
Dear Sir: This letter is to inform you of an incident between myself and a bus driver.
My name is Ms Audrey Fredericks, I live at Bois D Orange, Quarter of Gros-Islet. On Thursday 21st August 2014, Myself and 12 years old son boarded a Route 1 A bus…. I paid him $3.25 for both of us since that is what other drivers usually charge me.
The driver claimed I was short by $1.25 I told him that is not true since that’s what I usually pay besides I was coming off at Bois D Orange, he then stated that I was short by $.25. He told me to pay him of come off his bus, which I refused to do. Another passenger offered the $.25 but he refused to accept it, yet someone else offered a $1.00 and he still refused it. He proceeded to open the door and dropped the $3.25 on the seat next to me and once again instructed me to get off his bus, I refused at first but then I attempted to pick up the money and disembark the bus, however he grabbed my hand and a scuffle ensued, my son then offered him the $.25 and he told him “give it to your mother for her to give me”.
I came off the bus but then I saw him with my mobile phone a Galaxy S5, and he said he’s taking me to court, I boarded the bus again and when he sat down I tried to grab my phone, he then bit me on my hand, I grabbed his chain and bursted it, he drove to the Gros-Islet Police Station where he reported to the police that I refused to pay him and later hit him with my phone, which is not true. He stated that he’s taking me to court for his damaged chain which according to him is valued at US$6000.00.
I am also taking him to court for assault, before leaving the police station I paid him $3.50. I went to the poly clinic where I saw a doctor and was given a Tetanus Injection and other medications.
As a passenger it disgusts me at the manner in which some of the driver behaves, some of them overcharge commuters and get away with it, a perfect example one night I boarded a bus at Gros-Islet and was charged $5.00 to Bois D Orange, when it should have been price and a half after hours. This had to be paid before the bus moved.
Please contact me on …. for further discussion on the matter.
Cc: Mr Thomas St. Louis
Public Relations Officer
Gros-Islet Mini Bus Owners Association
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