Bus driver didn't take on passenger "because you are black," gets fired the next day
The authorities reportedly said that the driver should have indicated the capacity in the vehicle by changing the sign.
A bus driver from a Massachusetts island was fired after he told a passenger that he would not pick him up "because you are black," according to officials. The driver was reportedly from Martha's Vineyard.
The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority said that the incident occurred on July 11 and the bus driver was removed from his job the next day.
The name and other details of the bus driver, however, have not been released.
The passenger, 35-year-old Kevin Brooks, was reportedly waiting to board a Vineyard Transit Authority bus, which was heading from Edgartown to Oak Bluffs — another town nearly 7 miles away — when the driver of the bus looked at him and passed him over.
The transit authority said that the bus driver passed over despite the bus being "at capacity". The authorities reportedly said that the driver should have indicated the capacity in the vehicle by changing the sign.
Reports state that the Brooks had to resort to taking an Uber after the bus drove past him.
The transit authority, in a statement, said that Brooks arrived in Oak Bluffs right after the bus. He then got down and confronted the driver of the bus, asking him why he passed over.
The driver then initially claimed that the bus was full, however, when the man "challenged this response," the driver relented and told him "well, it's because you are black."
"I said what was the reason you didn’t stop for me in Edgartown,” said Brooks. “He said, ‘Because you’re black,'" according to the Vineyard Gazette.
Brooks told the Gazette that the entire incident "was a bit of a shock" for him because he had not encountered a racial incident in nearly three years he has been commuting in the area.
"I’ve never had an issue," Brooks said. "I don’t even live here, I still feel like part of the Vineyard. I go to the same bus stop every day."
The entire incident was reportedly recorded on the on-board camera of the bus. The transit authority reportedly reviewed the situation and fired the bus driver after analyzing the audio and video footage taken from the bus.
Brooks said that he has been in touch with a civil rights lawyer and the state commission against discrimination regarding the incident.
The transit authority said: "The VTA and their operating manager, Transit Connection, Inc., who manage the vehicle operators, have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior. The vehicle operator involved in this incident has been terminated from employment, effective immediately."