A Big Apple bus driver who was attacked on the job spoke about her harrowing experiences Thursday — as workers called on the city to place police officers on their vehicles for protection.
Driver Lupa Guallpa, 38, tearfully recounted how she’d been driving buses for just eight months before a man stomped, punched, and choked her on Nov. 6.
“I was on my last trip at 12:34 and one guy laid down next to his wheelchair. I tried to help him, he didn’t look so good,” the mother of two told The Post.
“He took me by my hair from behind and threw me on the floor and tried to stomp on me with his foot,” she said. “He punched me in the face two or three times, broke my earring and he started choking me.”
An Uber driver saw the attack and called the police, Guallpa said — but the attack left her in shock.
“In the first week I couldn’t talk to anyone, I was afraid to go outside. But I see my kids. My kids depend on me. I’m here for my kids future,” she said through tears.
“It is so dangerous to drive at night. If the police were on the bus, we will feel safe. If we are safer, the public will be safer.”
Attacks on bus operators have surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — with 800 incidents of harassment or assault in the last six months alone, the union says.
On Thursday, 50 bus operators canvassed buses across the city with flyers calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio “to get his head out of the sand.”
“We need uniformed police officers to ride buses — frequently and regularly,” the flyer said.
“It was always a challenging job but now we’re being assaulted on an hourly basis! There is no protection on the bus,” Transport Workers Union shop steward Terence Layne, 56.
“You’re supposed to call the command center and too often the response is apathetic no one comes,” Layne said. “We’re left to fend for ourselves.”
“We’re operating outside our job title. I’m not law enforcement,” Layne continued. “We are telling the operators to not allow it to escalate to violence, to immediately call the command center and the problem is it’s a lackadaisical response. It’s not treated with the kind of urgency that the situation calls for.”
TWU is also calling on the state legislature to impose harsher punishment on people who spit on, menace or attack transit workers without causing serious long-term injury.